Posts Tagged ‘Dragon’s Den’

Last night we returned late to Orlando airport exhausted after a wedding in Canada.  We were hungry.  We stopped at a Chipotle Mexican Grill only after trying a Chinese restaurant that was closed.  I’ll admit that I have negative associations with Taco Bell and really bad Mexican fast food. But this was an altogether different experience!

As soon as we arrived, a young man engaged us. I could tell he was the manager from the manner in which his staff responded to him. Everyone else was busy cleaning or doing other things and one woman looked like she was training with him.  We told the young manager we tried the Chinese restaurant and he calmly assured us he would show us why his restaurant was better.

I chose a carnitas burrito, and was asked if I was ok waiting a few minutes as it was cooked fresh, because carnitas get dry if left heated –  already a very different introduction.  As we were sitting down to eat, the young manager said he would be over in a minute to see how we’re both doing.


I know it was almost empty (10 minutes before their close time) but I thought he was just saying it to be nice.


He actually showed up about 3 minutes later and asked us how we liked the food. Then he proceeded to talk briefly about the food and the restaurant. At first, I thought: is he for real??  But his enthusiasm and charm triggered my curiosity.

This is what he told me: they use family-farmed, naturally raised, hormone free, organic meats.  It was mostly organic, delicious and only $6.00.  Huumm…. now as an entrepreneur I was really curious – how are they doing this and still growing?  I asked the young manager lots of question about the business.  I watched him carefully as he answered them all with ease.

I don’t know how many of you have come across a young rising star and how you knew it. But I could see this manager’s eye, and I could hear in his voice, a passion for “his” store and “his” business.  I could sense talent.  Like Seabiscuit talent ready to race.  I want to shamelessly add that I have an almost perfect record of picking rising stars.  I’m also privileged that many of them are my friends today.

This Chipotle manager’s name is Adam Roskoph (redhead in German).  He answered all my questions about the business, while still keeping an eye on the restaurant. At one point, he even conveyed the cook’s thanks for complimenting his carnitas!

What? The chef send his regards in a fast food restaurant?!  Speechless…..

Adam went on to tell us the history of Chipotle Restaurants, the culture, the founder and his 7 year career with them starting at 17 years old. So infectious was Adam’s passion and enthusiasm, I was ready to poach him on the spot. And I may one day.

I have never met a rising young star in a restaurant.  Someone that could be removed from his industry and he/she would still be a star.  Adam is only 24 years old, yet he speaks with the authority of a young CEO and the enthusiasm of an entrepreneur in the Dragon’s Den.  He is charming, authentic, and focused.

This is a photo of Adam: 

He manages the Chiplote Mexican Grill on South Semoran Blvd in Orlando (near MCO).  Say hello to Adam if you’re in town and ask for the carnitas!

Never hesitate to reward talent publicly. It could be you tomorrow.


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