Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dara Wong, owner of Shift Kitchen and Bar, located in Flagstaff, AZ, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I own a full-service restaurant called Shift that serves American shared plates. Our guests mainly consist of young professionals and older. We focus on serving as much local produce and ingredients as we can. Our menus change every few weeks due to our sourcing style.

Tell us about yourself

I am from Boulder, CO, as one of four children. I now live in Flagstaff, AZ, with my wife and our two dogs. I opened Shift 7 years ago, as well as a wine bar called Oeno Wine Lounge a year and a half ago. I love being an entrepreneur because it allows me to see out my vision and give an opportunity to my past, current, and future employees. I have a great responsibility to not just serve food and drinks to people but give them an experience. I also feel that with this gift, I have an opportunity to do good where I can, whether it's in my community or green business practices. I love to be the best, and I'm constantly striving for it.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I would say making it thru COVID as well as coming up on our seven-year anniversary, is a pretty big deal for a business, especially a restaurant. But I am super proud of my current team and all the great things we are doing. In January, my chef, Christian Lowe, was nominated for a James Beard award as Emerging Chef. I am incredibly proud of her and everyone who had a part in that.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

I would have said COVID, but now I would say it's staying relevant and constantly inspiring so that my staff and our guests continue to want to dine or work here. The rising costs of goods as well as the minimum wage, also scare me for the restaurant's future. I hope we can continue to overcome this as well.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Go all in. Have enough money budgeted and open as if your life depended on it.
  2. Create a detailed business plan. Mission statement, financials, and everything else in between. Think it all through.
  3. Know your market. Research, read, and ask other entrepreneurs about their successes and failures. Know if there is room for your business in the current market.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.