This CEO overcame bankruptcy to run quick-serve eateries in airports, now he expects to make $50M

Abu Mubarik October 12, 2023
Randy Hazelton. Photo: Linkedin/Randy Hazelton

Get to know Randy Hazelton; he is the CEO of H&H Hospitality, a firm that operates concession stands in major U.S. airports. One of the airports is Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, one of the world’s busiest airports where the company runs Freshens yogurt and Famous Famiglia pizzeria stands, according to Forbes.

H&H runs a joint venture with Atlanta-based food and beverage operator Concessions International. The joint venture includes ownership in a Shake Shack and Auntie Anne’s pretzels on Concourse B, Forbes added.

The black entrepreneur started his business in 2007 and now H&H co-owns over 20 franchises with about 100 employees. Also, the company is projected to reach $50 million in revenue this year and rise to $100 million in 2025, the U.S. business magazine reported.

Before starting his own business, Hazelton worked in corporate America as a business manager for Kimberly-Clark. However, he left in 2006 to launch Café Circa, a full-service restaurant and bar in downtown Atlanta.

Café Circa did not run as he wanted. Although the business operated well, it was not efficient. Hazelton eventually filed for bankruptcy to save Café Circa from closing. He would attribute the near collapse of his business to his failure to understand the restaurant business.

“We didn’t know how to make money because we didn’t do the homework,” Hazelton told Forbes. Together with his business partner, they eventually sold the business in 2012 for $500,000 and used the money to fund their franchising operation.

The cost of running a business is not lost to Hazelton, like franchise and royalties fees, advertising costs, and the challenge of managing employees. “It’s management intensive, which means it’s people-intensive,” he said.

Nonetheless, Hazelton said he has the formula to maximize his chances. He said he has transformed himself into a “homework nerd”, adding that he has a proven formula to build H&H: copy and paste. 

“Borrow from other folks,” Hazleton advised. “Some of the greatest successes are just copycats of something already here.”

The company is now planning to launch a Slutty Vegan, a popular plant-based burger brand owned by entrepreneur Pinky Cole.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: October 12, 2023


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