Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Barbara Kowalski, Franchise Owner of Fat Shack UCF, located in Orlando, FL, USA.

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

Fat Shack is a fast, casual restaurant franchise. We serve Fat sandwiches, burgers, wings, and deep-fried desserts. We are open late at night to serve the late-night market of hungry customers.

Tell us about yourself

I bought into this business because my son worked at Fat Shack in college, and when he decided that he wanted to own a business, I decided that I had enough of the corporate world, and we started this business together. I really like working for myself (and with my son. I like owning a restaurant because the food is comforting and seems to make people happy.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment so far is getting this restaurant open during COVID. We just celebrated our first anniversary at this location. We are starting to look for our second location.

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

I feel a strong responsibility to the employees that work for me. I understand that this job is how they feed their families and keep a roof over their heads, so I do everything I can to keep the business successful.

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

  1. When someone or something knocks you down, get back up and go at the problem in a different way. I had multiple hurdles to overcome with contractors, government agencies, and suppliers.
  2. Expect that things will take much longer than you anticipate. Patience is a virtue which is absolutely needed when dealing with other people.
  3. Get creative in how you market your business. When we first opened, we did a lot of guerilla marketing (we would walk around with bags of food and hand them out to hungry college students to get them to try the restaurant).

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.

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