Local YEA! Students Learn The Business of Food

Staff Report From Valdosta CEO

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

On Tuesday November 7th, students from the Valdosta chapter of Young Entrepreneurs Academy received a “2 for 1” deal with a field trip to meet with restaurant owner Nicholas Harden of Big Nick’s on Baytree, and welcomed a visit from Margo Braski, owner of Chick-fil-A, Valdosta Mall, for an in-depth look at what it takes to run a successful restaurant business!

Big Nick’s on Baytree was chosen to help students discover the behind-the-scenes approach to great food and great service! YEA! Program Manager and Class Instructor, Amanda Johnson, commented that, “A visit to a dynamic, local restaurant like Big Nick’s provides a fun way for our YEA! students to learn about the business and operations behind a popular and successful local eatery.” Nicholas Harden (known throughout the community affectionately as “Big Nick”) shared his own entrepreneurial success story with the students.  YEA! students heard where the business idea came from, what the challenges have been and what skills it takes to keep the business running. Mr. Harden also provided samples to the students from the restaurant's menu as a form of the restaurant's “proof of concept”, an action that the YEA! students are currently developing for their own business ideas.

Big Nick has been feeding the city of Valdosta some of the best food around for years. He established Big Nick’s in May of 2015 and has been on a roll ever since. The restaurant prides itself on outstanding food, service, and a great environment. Everything is made fresh daily by Nick’s family, and the staff extends that family foundation to every customer that walks in. “It is my pleasure to speak on behalf of my background and experiences in the restaurant business to our local YEA! students. Anything I can do to contribute to their success is worthwhile,” offered Mr. Harden.

Later during the in-class session, Margo Braski personally visited the YEA students to share her journey and mission as it relates to being the owner and operator for Chick-fil-A Valdosta Mall. She spent time with the students sharing how to be a community-focused business person, answering questions, and encouraging them on the business ideas they have come up with. Ms. Braski stated, “I really enjoyed hearing from the young adults and their visions for business. It actually helped me more than I think I could have possibly helped them. Reconnecting with the entrepreneurial spirit reenergizes me!”