Business+Impact has introduced a series on U-M alumni who have created social enterprises and continue the work of entrepreneurship after graduation. For this edition, we are shining the light on Detroit 75 Kitchen, a food truck service in Southwest Detroit, founded by Ahmad Nassar.
Ahmad Nassar was on his way to medical school like many other children of immigrants but his entrepreneurial spirit and devotion to being part of the ongoing revitalization of Detroit compelled him to take a sharp turn in his career.
Ahmad is passionate about business and building brands that stand the test of time. He decided to earn degrees from multiple universities including an MBA from Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan (MBA ’20) and a specialized degree in entrepreneurship from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (’20).
If you ask Ahmad, he will tell you that when he and his brother started out, nobody gave them any chance of success. Today, with Mike in the kitchen and Ahmad managing the creative direction and growth strategy, the brothers are well on their way to building the most iconic hospitality brand to ever come out of Detroit.
Describe your business.
Detroit 75 Kitchen is a family-owned food truck located in Southwest Detroit recently named the Best Food Truck in America by USA Today. Already an official partner of the PGA Tour and Rocket Mortgage Classic, Detroit 75 Kitchen will expand into Comerica Park in Spring 2023.
Website: Detroit 75 Kitchen
Social: Instagram | TikTok
What is your biggest recent discovery about founding your food business? What do you enjoy most about it?
There is something about having the weekends off that makes productivity soar.
Ahmad and Mike are stewards of the five-day work week. It would seem counterintuitive to close on what would be the busiest days of the week for any restaurant, but this demonstrates the Nassar brothers’ mindset. At Detroit 75 Kitchen, everyone earns a livable wage and enjoys weekends off. The average team member has been with Detroit 75 Kitchen for over five years. Comparatively, restaurant workers spend less than two months on average in their jobs. It’s part of what makes Detroit 75 Kitchen’s food and experience so consistent and what makes all of the growth possible.
Our focus is on long-term sustainability rather than short-term profit. A fair wage, benefits, and a reasonable work-life balance enable us to work together as a family. As a result, we are able to be creative and plot our own course instead of competing directly with other restaurants.
I take pleasure in knowing our team is able to have the weekends off to spend with their family and rest and recharge. This is something that is seldom available within the hospitality industry at large.
What business school courses or UM entrepreneurship workshops have helped you the most in building out the business?
Mike Barger – High Stakes Leadership: Leading in Times of Crisis – Every day, the world we live in becomes more complex, volatile, and uncertain. We have all been forced to face this reality in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been both tangible and frightening for many of us, especially in the food and beverage sector.
Through this course, I was prepared for what stakeholders of Detroit 75 Kitchen would expect from me during a crisis such as the pandemic.
There are many things that matter to me: my family, my business, my employees, my community and each of these respective groups have varying viewpoints on the same topic.
People want and need leaders that they can trust when they are looking for leadership. Is everything going to be alright?Is the company going to survive? Will I still receive the product or service I expected? Is my job still secure?
I’m grateful for this course, I found it to be most applicable to real world business situations. Whether it is the pandemic or other challenges within the business, you will certainly have several stakeholders with varying interests involved that you will need to navigate as the leader.
What new ideas are you looking toward to next, or what connections are you looking to make in the near future?
- Adding strategic locations for Detroit 75 Kitchen
- Extending the Detroit 75 Kitchen brand into consumer products
- Brand partnerships
- Anybody with experience in co-packing
- Anybody in the food & beverage space
- Anybody I can be helpful to
Recent Coverage about Detroit 75