The SUCCESS Interview: Francois Reihani and the Power of Building a Business Focused on Giving Back

Editor’s Be aware: The SUCCESS Interview exams the foundational ideas of this 125-year-old private {and professional} improvement journal towards trendy realities. Our employees sits down with newsmakers, opinion-shapers and undisputed achievers to learn the way we are able to all thrive in a world altering quicker than ever.

On this version, Madison Pieper spoke with Francois Reihani, founder and CEO of La La Land Type Cafe, a Dallas-based restaurant that empowers youth who’ve aged out of the foster care system via employment and mentorship alternatives. Reihani additionally launched the We Are One challenge with the aligned purpose of serving to foster care system youths.

This Q&A has been edited for area and readability. To view the interview in its entirety, be part of our Achievers All-Entry platform, which supplies you entry to a whole lot of interviews, programs and skilled trainings that will help you degree up in life and enterprise. Go to to study extra.

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SUCCESS Journal: In the present day we herald Francois Reihani, who began a enterprise at simply 21 years previous. Now, he has one other multimillion-dollar enterprise, nevertheless it comes with a goal—a goal to be type. Francois, thanks for becoming a member of us right here at the moment at SUCCESS. We’re so excited to have you ever.

Francois Reihani: Thanks for having me.

SM: You began your journey to entrepreneurship at 21. What was the response from family and friends for beginning so younger?

FR: Undoubtedly at the start whereas we had been nonetheless in school, I don’t assume folks actually believed it was potential, particularly not having expertise within the trade I used to be going into. I nonetheless get that at this level.

SM: So that you began a poke restaurant. Since then, you’ve jumped into La La Land Type Cafe, which is greater than only a café. Inform us about that.

FR: Once I began the poke place, I believe at that time, my complete life was actually about making a bunch of cash and that’s what I grew up eager to do, as numerous entrepreneurs do. And I believe as soon as that began to occur, I began to assume, What am I actually doing with my life? And that situation sort of led me into wanting to search out one thing extra fulfilling.

And so I realized about Dallas CASA [a nonprofit dedicated to advocating for neglected and abused children and helping them find healthy and stable homes]. That taught me so much in regards to the foster youth trade. Three youngsters that got here in informed their tales about growing older out of foster care, which I had no concept what that even was at the moment. As soon as I heard their tales, I went house and began researching. The extra you look into it, the more severe it will get. It’s a deep and darkish gap. It makes you need to assist as a result of these are youngsters who’ve actually by no means had a shot. They don’t have any assist. And after they flip 18, they’ve nobody.

That modified the trajectory for my profession. I offered my hospitality enterprise to deal with my nonprofit, the We Are One challenge. The purpose was to assist youngsters who’re growing older out of foster care and provides them every part they probably wanted to turn out to be profitable and blissful adults. However the extra we tried to try this with remedy and housing and job placement and education, the extra useless ends we hit. As a result of even with all these issues, most of our youth couldn’t get or keep a job. And you may’t be a self-sustaining grownup and not using a profession.

Out of that downside got here La La Land. I wished to create a spot the place not solely we might mentor and rent the foster youth that had been growing older out of foster care, however on the similar time construct a platform that we are able to share with different companies to have the ability to do the identical.

SM: There’s a way of group and household there.

FR: Oh yeah, completely. We attempt to domesticate that. It comes with the design and the sensation and the lounge sort settings. Our groups are employed to unfold kindness, not simply to serve espresso. And that does create a unique atmosphere.

SM: So you’ve gotten a particular reference to fostered youth, not solely due to your expertise with CASA, however due to the place you grew up and what you noticed within the first half of your life. Inform us a little bit bit about that and the way it led to the place you’re at the moment.

FR: Proper after I used to be born, we moved to Mexico. And rising up in Rosarito, strolling in your technique to faculty, you see dozens and dozens of homeless youngsters with both their mother and father or alone, making an attempt to promote gum or sweet or one thing to mainly make it by. And once you’re rising up at that very same age, you’re pondering, I’m going house with my mother and father and so they’re having to remain out right here. Whenever you transfer to America, you simply don’t see that anymore. So I didn’t assume it was an issue right here. Once I heard extra about it, it introduced again these reminiscences. Now, as an grownup, I’m truly capable of do one thing about it.

SM: You’ve made such a huge effect on this foster group. How has this journey felt for you?

FR: I’ll begin by saying our program is nowhere close to excellent. We’ve had numerous failure in making an attempt to determine tips on how to make this work. These youngsters have been via so much, and it’s not a easy answer. However after all, thank God, we’ve had the instances the place we’ve seen a large influence within the youths’ lives. And for a youth to truly be capable to see that, “Hey, you’re value so much and also you’ve bought nice expertise, and also you’re an incredible human being and also you do have large potential and an enormous future.” And with the ability to see that in a few of these youths who may not have seen it earlier than, and to have the ability to give them that group and help system to get there, has been one of the crucial rewarding issues in my life. And now we’re hoping to have the ability to scale what we’re doing to assist much more [foster youth].

SM: The concept of main with goal sounds good, nevertheless it isn’t at all times straightforward. What recommendation would you give to entrepreneur hopefuls?

FR: First, once you don’t consider the cash and also you simply have the nice intention of doing the appropriate factor, cash comes. I believe that’s confirmed in my profession. I’ve nonetheless but to dig deeply right into a monetary assertion to attempt to improve revenue margins. By some means stuff simply flows. Our motto is, “Whenever you do the appropriate factor, magic occurs.”

As younger entrepreneurs, we don’t need to take heed to individuals who say, “Hey, cash doesn’t really make you cheerful.” You hear it time and time once more, nevertheless it’s a lesson you typically should study by yourself. To a sure extent, cash can convey pleasure and pleasure. I like good issues, and that wouldn’t be potential with out cash. Nevertheless it doesn’t convey success and it doesn’t convey happiness. Attempt to perceive how one can mix each in your life.

SM: That is one thing we ask everybody as a result of it helps our readers perceive and doubtlessly replicate that which makes an entrepreneur profitable. So, this being SUCCESS in spite of everything, what are your high three habits for fulfillment?

FR: No. 1: I believe it really is a relentless work ethic to need to be the perfect. That’s most likely the highest factor that I say to any of our workforce members day-after-day. It’s not straightforward. Plenty of instances it’s seven days per week and it’s 16-hour days and also you’re constantly going and also you’re not seeing your pals and also you’re not taking holidays. However if you wish to obtain success, it’s by no means a easy factor.

No. 2: Do the appropriate factor. I believe my success, 99% of it, has to do with that. Simply really [get something] on the board, you don’t must make it difficult. Simply do the appropriate factor. And on the finish of the day, the appropriate factor isn’t at all times the perfect monetary choice on this planet or the perfect operational choice on this planet, nevertheless it does on the finish of the day pan out. I’m only a huge, true believer in karma.

And the very last thing I might say would most likely be to be type. That may wrap it up for you. And it’s typically such a easy factor to do as human beings to simply get up within the morning with the precise intent that I’m going to be a form particular person at the moment. 

This text initially appeared within the Could/June 2022 Difficulty of SUCCESS journal. Photographs courtesy of Francois Reihani and La La Land Type Cafe.


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