Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Gilbert Yeremian, co-founder, and owner of Gilbert's / 10th & Piedmont, located in Atlanta, GA, USA.

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

10th & Piedmont and Gilbert's is a neighborhood restaurant/Bar serving the midtown community for the last 23 years. We are super lucky to be supported all those years by the diverse crowd of our neighborhood and visitors alike. Our community has changed a lot since we opened. We have changed some as well, but one thing has never changed for us: we remain a preferred gathering place for open-minded and, more importantly, open-hearted people who like socializing and making new friends. What we provide for our guests is a place to relax, enjoy the company of some of the best folks in town, sip on a delicious cocktail, and experience some of our modern southern cuisine food offerings.

Our guests all find something different to enjoy here. Some enjoy the vibe, some enjoy celebrating their birthday, bachelorette party, or other special occasions, and many enjoy the big, open windows that allow our space to blend with the outdoors.

We are continuously working hard to provide the best entertainment and atmosphere for our guests as we are in the business of enterdinement. It may sound a bit cheesy, but it does express the business we are in for me: We are serving an atmosphere, a feeling, joy for life, and joy for discovering the connection we have among each other. Let's celebrate!

Tell us about yourself

I started my hospitality journey in 1989 by attending hospitality school at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. After graduation, I opened and worked at the Conrad Istanbul hotel for five years in various capacities, starting from bartending and moving on to acting beverage director and corporate sales executive positions. I also worked for Brookwood grill restaurant in Atlanta for a year before I found my own restaurant in 2000. I possess a distinct and intense desire to serve others. Doing so gives me great pleasure to see the faces that enjoy what we are doing. It is more than selling something. It is personal; it is deep. The same feeling is true whether I am serving my friends in my home or in a commercial setting. In this challenging industry, I believe there is little chance for anyone to do this business in any longevity without a strong foundational desire and passion.

What motivates me and keeps me going in the presence of the endless craziness we consistently endure in this cuckoo business is the satisfaction I get from knowing that we are providing employment to a lot of folks from our community and changing guests lives. Yep, we do change lives...sounds crazy, but true. Mostly, one hour and one smile at a time, but sometimes even more noticeably. For instance, we have some regulars who changed their mind about retiring in Florida because there is no Gilbert's/10th & Piedmont there.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is the ongoing feeling of the impact that I have on my team's progress in life.

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

I think the biggest challenge most business owners face is to maintain positive morale in the presence of unlimited challenges and injustices that arise from HR, PR, legal-related matters, and other obstacles that distract from our primary purpose of serving our wonderful guests. Keeping one's chin up during proverbial getting punched in the head non-stop combined with lack of profit/compensation is not something that comes naturally. You need to work at it and learn. Must have support at home; gotta have that. The biggest difference between an owner and a non-owner is the willingness to take a risk. The risk involves all those punches, too.

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

  1. Be prepared and know your business very well, but remember that you need to jump to it at some point - meaning that you can't wait to know the business 100%. Stop producing excuses to postpone your venture: JUMP. It's scary, but you have to JUMP.
  2. Make sure you are doing a business that has strong margins and that your product has some differentiation. You must provide good value for the customers.
  3. Be strong in the beginning, and remember that the first few years might not be financially rewarding. If you have a solid concept and if you are doing your best, the money will follow.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Most businesses, even the ones that have nothing to do with each other in their core function, have a lot in common, such as customer service, governmental and regulatory functions, legal matters, accounting, purchasing, and more. These are the functions typically an owner of a small company handles. These are functions that most first-time owners don't understand or even know to exist. It is easy to focus on the main function (for us, it is good food and good drinks), but one must have enough bandwidth to deal with these owner functions regardless of how hard he/she is working on the core function.

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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