This 14-year-old from Georgia is the youngest restaurant owner in the state

Ama Nunoo Jan 11, 2021 at 11:00am

January 11, 2021 at 11:00 am | Opinions & Features

Ama Nunoo

Ama Nunoo | Staff Writer

January 11, 2021 at 11:00 am | Opinions & Features

Mason Wright is Georgia's youngest restaurant owner. Photo: Mason Wright/Instagram

Some people are said to be born entrepreneurs while others acquire the skill later in life. The important thing appears to be pushing regardless of the challenges. The coronavirus pandemic could not quench the fire in Mason Wright who nursed the dream of owning his own chain of food trucks since age 9. Although that dream is yet to be realized, Wright is the youngest restaurant owner in Georgia.

The 14-year-old Delkab native opened the doors to his take-out restaurant, Mason’s Super Dogs, at Snapfinger Road in Stonecrest after a shop closed down due to the coronavirus. Wright had got his 22-year-old sister to sign off as a silent partner in October 2020.

“This is what I wanted but it hasn’t been easy at all,” Wright said. It was obviously worth the fight because of his history-making feat.

The journey to owning his own place did not come on a silver platter. In 2015, he worked jobs like walking dogs and washing cars in his neighborhood to save up for his chain of food carts. The determined young man also sold candy and snacks with his Christmas money because his school had no vending machine.

According to CBS News, Wright combined homeschooling with manning his hot dog cart which was purchased for him by his parents and grandparents on condition that his grades were stellar.

“He got on it and brought his report card to me every six weeks,” said his father Jerome, who works as a coordinator for a shipping company. “He sees the grind and hard work that goes into being successful.”

Wright has a great support system aside from his family, the teenager’s teachers also understand the task he has signed up for and cut him some slack when he occasionally falters.  

“Homeschooling is really fun,” he said. “My teachers understand that I have a business, so if I’m super busy with the restaurant, they’ll get with me if I miss anything.”

To be a business owner, one must have good negotiation skills and Wright has proven so far that is a skill he possesses. After losing a business competition at Morehouse College, he was able to convince president David Thomas to let him sell his signature hot dogs on campus.

He began racking in huge profits till his earnings were threatened by the lack of foot traffic in and around the college at the peak of the pandemic.

“The plan was to get a food truck to take to Morehouse College, but because of the coronavirus I couldn’t go to campus – so I decided to get a restaurant instead.”

At the time he also sought business advice from the Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, headed by president and CEO Jay Bailey. He then began catering for movie nights at the incubator named after late Black business tycoon Herman J. Russell.

Through Bailey’s mentorship, the space in Stonecrest got renovated and his kitchen inspection got an A, amid protests by some others that a 14-year-old could not own a restaurant.

“I can tell you the feeling of pride that washed over me when he sent me a picture of that perfect score on his inspection with a text that said, ‘I did it, Mr. Jay.’ I started my first business when I was 12 and so now to be able to go over and support him right down the street from where I grew up special,” Bailey said.

Per CBS, Wright serves over 400 customized regular and vegan hot dogs with fresh toppings daily. His vegan hot dogs made it to the number five spot on PETA’s top vegan hot dogs in the country. 

The reviews online have been great so far and Wright admits that his customers have been the best. His whole family is involved in his business one way or the other and he intends on still opening his chain of food trucks once the whole COVID-19 pandemic phase is over.

According to the young entrepreneur, it is important to do what you love daily and it will make working a joy all the time. His restaurant opens daily and closes around 6pm.

“Do something you love. If you love doing your hobby you’ll love doing your work because my motto is if you love doing what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life,” said Wright, gleefully.

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