So You Wanna Open A Restaurant: Nigerian Chick-Fil-A Owner/Operator Adaobi Gwacham
With Gwacham’s youthful and vivacious appearance, one would assume she was one of the collegiate team members. She is extremely hands on with her restaurant; greeting customers, taking orders and maintaining the cleanliness of the dining area. She is a phenomenal role model for her team members who respect her immensely. On her experience with Chick-Fil-A and with Gwacham as her boss, manager Dorcas Astacio comments, “She’s amazing. Adaobi treats you with dignity and respect everyday. For her, it’s not solely about running a business and making money, she values you as a person. She’s always happy. I like to be around her. Working for her has been an unbelievable experience.
Gwacham gives insight on some of her responsibilities as an owner/operator. “I have eighty-nine people on staff. I interviewed, hired and trained every person. I have the passion to be here for my team. I have such a high degree of responsibility, I want to make sure things are done right. I want to make sure that my team knows my expectations.”
Outside of Chick-Fil-A, Gwacham has several upcoming speaking engagements in the community including the African American Conference for high school students at Pasadena City College and with the Step Ahead Leadership program also for high school students where she will share her story and words of encouragement. “You have the option to make something out of your life, you just have to work at it. You have to put in the time and the effort and greatness will happen.”
One of Gwacham’s ultimate career goals includes being the first woman multi-unit operator (franchisee that owns more than one restaurant) in the state of California. Out of the nearly 1,800 Chick-Fil-A locations, less than ten percent of the owners are African American women. For those interested in pursuing corporate opportunities with the company Gwacham says “I don’t look at the numbers as a disadvantage by any means, if you believe you have what it takes to run a business why not go for it? Do what you need to do to be able to achieve those goals.”
In July 2014, The Sentinel highlighted Gwacham’s colleague Ashley Derby who is another African American woman franchisee. She is the owner/operator of the USC In-Line location. Gwacham says, “Ashley and I are here because of the hard work that we’ve put in. It’s about your diligence and your ability to make sacrifices. Ashley moved from Atlanta to Los Angeles to be a franchisee. I move from L.A. to Atlanta to work in the corporate office for five years. That was a sacrifice that I made in order to reach my ultimate goals.”
(Pictured In Main Photo: Team member Cambria Rodriguez, owner Adaobi Gwacham, manager Dorcas Astacio and team member Kenya Blueford)