Our September #DontBeAChicken campaign celebrates the idea of having courage, taking steps that are as big and bold as the food we offer on our menu. While she might be petite in frame, there’s no better example of big and bold than Qing Hammell, a native of China who made a drastic career change to pursue her love of food and business to open her very own Teriyaki Madness franchise.
Hammell came to the United States 20 years ago to pursue an MBA at Claremont Graduate University in California. From there, she continued as an actuary that led her to Bermuda and then Minneapolis, before realizing her true business passions were ignited by entrepreneurship. Fearless, Hammell took a leap of faith and invested in Teriyaki Madness to open up her first shop just south of Denver in the summer of 2016. Now, she has plans to open additional locations in the area.
“There are skills you can carry over from the financial industry to entrepreneurship, like management, operations and also financial knowledge,” Hammell said. “But nothing will truly ever prepare you for running your own business until you dive into the deep end and start doing it yourself. It’s much more work than you will ever imagine.”
When she worked in an office, Hammell was always on the lookout for a variety of lunch options, especially healthy ones. This drew her to the restaurant industry – she wanted to do something different. “I always had an entrepreneurial drive, but I didn’t quite know where to go with it,” she said. “When I found Teriyaki Madness, it was so attractive because of its food and support. The all-natural meats and vegetables are incredible, and the backing of the Teriyaki Madness corporate team sold me on the concept.”
Hammell says part of her drive to open her own restaurant came from the idea of giving back to those who helped her along her journey. “I came here with nothing and I had so many people helping me,” Hammell said. “Now I feel that it’s my turn to return the favor and pay it forward. I was nervous when I left China, but the move and dramatic change has made grow in so many ways. The experience of surviving and being successful in my job has taught me persistence and the importance of optimism. You are going to encounter difficulties, you will fall, you will cry, but you learn from your mistakes and continue to move forward. I can’t wait to see where my teriyaki shops take me.”
Take it from an amazing franchisee, Qing Hammell: Anything is possible when you put your mind to it. The next great entrepreneurial success story could be you. #DontBeAChicken.