(Photo Credit: Tomas Espinoza)
What’s your name, company name, and title?
Mimmo Alboumeh, Red Pepper Taqueria, Chef/Owner.
Which country did you emigrate from?
Why did you or your family decide to immigrate?
My family started migrating in the mid-’70s from Lebanon to Italy, Spain, then the USA in the late ’80s. I came to Atlanta in 1995.
What was the most difficult thing you faced when you arrived in the US?
I honestly was lucky because I had a large family here already. Adjusting to the American culture was easy, and people didn’t have so much hate and segregation like you see today.
What was your very first job?
I have worked in restaurants since I was 15 years old. My first job in Atlanta was at Don Juan Spanish Restaurant, closed now. It was very popular and one of the original restaurants in the city.
Why did you choose to become an entrepreneur?
At a very young age, maybe 8–10 years old, I was already helping my grandmother in the kitchen and in her small grocery store. She cooked all the time. The Chef dream was born then. I was blessed to have the ambition to become who I am. Of course, it only took 20 years to learn and build the business.
How did you raise the money necessary to launch your business?
Credit cards, loans, and partners. (My least favorite is having partners. It’s never easy for a chef to have another partner that isn’t from a chef background).
What was the most difficult thing you faced when you first started your business?
I was broke. I used all my credit limits and barely got by.
Why do you think you have been successful?
My unconditional commitment and determination to succeed. Treat every employee with respect and they will treat your guests even better.
What advice do you have for newly arrived immigrants that want to pursue the path of entrepreneurship?
We must learn the real facts in life; money cannot fix everything, but life experience can. Work for small and big companies, be patient and learn slowly. The entrepreneurship seeds will start growing before you know it.