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Episode 059

Robert Maynard

Founder and CEO of Famous Toastery

by | May 25, 2021

Show Notes:

I have a really great episode lined up for you. I’m finally able to feature one of my favorite restaurant brands, Famous Toastery. The founder and CEO of the company, Robert Maynard, joins me to share a little of his background, and the inspirations behind the Famous Toastery concept.

Robert also shares some really valuable insights into the journey of an entrepreneur, along with some sage advice for those listeners that may be just starting out on their own small business journey. This conversation really exceeded my expectations, and I think you’re really going to find a lot of value here. So, with that said, let’s get stuck right into my conversation with Robert. Thanks for joining us friends, enjoy the episode.

Famous Toastery

Local businesses recognized:

Abby’s Better Nut Butter

Davidson Ice House

(Chef Jen Brule was our guest in episode 10 of the podcast)

Books recommended:

Rich Dad, Poor Dad
By Robert Kiyosaki

Buy the book from one of these preferred local booksellers:

Main Street Books – Davidson

Walls of Books – Cornelius

Transcript:

Narrator:
Welcome to the Best of LKN, a podcast featuring the best small businesses and the most influential professionals around Lake Norman, North Carolina. Each week we spotlight those businesses and individuals that are making a positive impact here in the Lake Norman area. Thanks for joining us. Enjoy the show.

Jeff:
Hello everyone and welcome back to the Best of LKN podcast. We feature conversations with highly successful entrepreneurs, small business owners and freelancers around the Lake Norman area of North Carolina. If you’re new here, welcome. We’re glad you’re joining us. Please be sure to sign up for our email newsletter to stay up-to-date on the podcast and our blog articles. Everything we do can be found at our website, www.thebestoflkn.com. There at the bottom of the homepage, you’ll see the signup form for the email newsletter. Signing up is a great way to support the podcast, so we thank you very much for that. I have a really great episode lined up for you. I’m finally able to feature one of my favorite restaurant brands, Famous Toastery. The founder and CEO of the company, Robert Maynard, joins me to share a little of his background and the inspirations behind the Famous Toastery concept. Robert also shares some really valuable insights into the journey of an entrepreneur, along with some sage advice for those listeners that may be just starting out on their own small business journey. This conversation really exceeded my expectations, and I think you’re really going to find a lot of value here. So with that said, let’s get stuck right into my conversation with Robert. Thanks for joining us, friends. Enjoy the episode.

Jeff:
Today we are featuring the Famous Toastery brand of restaurants, founded right in the lake Norman area in Davidson, North Carolina. Founder and CEO, Robert Maynard, is joining me, Robert, welcome to the podcast.

Robert:
Jeff. Thanks, man. I appreciate it.

Jeff:
I appreciate you as well. I’ve been really looking forward to having this conversation and featuring Famous Toastery on the podcast. Listeners to the podcast will know that I’m a big fan, Famous Toastery has come up in several of my conversations with local business owners and guests on the podcast. And I am a frequent visitor to Famous Toastery, specifically the Davidson location, which is where it all started.

Robert:
Yes. Thank you.

Jeff:
Yeah, absolutely. Robert, before we get into discussion about Famous Toastery, the brand, and its beginnings and where it’s going, what the future looks like, share with the listeners, a little bit of a bio, a little bit of a background on yourself.

Robert:
Well, it’s kinda interesting. I, you know, kind of fast forwarding to today where, you know, running a business, being an entrepreneur, back in the day, I started out in the music business and realized how tough that was and how hard you work, and started making the shift into business. We went to banking, worked for a big bank for years, and really started to understand business a bit more. And then in 2005, decided to go out and start doing, get into the real estate business, get into the restaurant business and really took the, you know, I didn’t know a thing about all this stuff. I didn’t know anything about restaurants. I didn’t know anything about franchising, about real estate and I wasn’t, I’m a big fan of just jumping in and swinging the bat. You know, I was much younger then, you can, you can take a lot of risks, you know, I’m a big fan of swinging the bat. I’m the opposite of a perfectionist. So it’s kind of helped in a lot of ways to just kinda jump in the pool with the sharks, swim and get a couple of nips here and there, but kind of survive and start to grow stuff and really be able to understand where opportunity is and not just Famous Toastery but in all things business that you can work with other folks and other brands and help other people, which has been kind of cool.

Jeff:
Where were you before you moved to Charlotte?

Robert:
I was in this little island known as Manhattan for 20 years. Probably about 18 years too long and moved to Charlotte about six years ago, and absolutely love it. And you know, it taught me a lot. I did a lot of, like I said, I worked in banking, I did a lot of traveling around New York. I was doing a lot of real estate development outside of New York, and it was a great place to live for a while. We definitely needed the change, had some children, we came out to a beautiful town in Davidson, so zero regrets. And then of course after last year, what has happened there, it’s been upsetting to see, but on the flip side, glad I got out before all that stuff started happening.

Jeff:
Sure. Yeah, Davidson’s a lovely community, Lake Norman in general, Mooresville, Cornelius, Huntersville, great communities, great place to live. We’re really lucky to have those communities so close to Charlotte.

Robert:
So yeah, absolutely love it. I mean, I couldn’t fathom living somewhere else, to be honest.

Jeff:
You mentioned not being a perfectionist, kind of jumping in, swinging the bat. I agree with that mentality and that philosophy. I’ve had several guests on the podcast. We’ve had this conversation about, you know, you can’t wait for things to be perfect or you’ll never start. You have to kind of, my business partner and I talk about this all the time. We mention, let’s just get to 75%, 80% and launch it and we’ll figure out what’s wrong after we launch. Yeah, I can relate to that. I like that mindset of just, you have an idea, test it, try it. Don’t wait for things to be perfect or the planets to align. Right? Otherwise you’ll never start.

Robert:
The reality is, not to take this in a different direction, the reality is, you’re not going to live forever. You only get one shot here. Right? It’s one shot, you know, that’s it. So you do it now or you don’t do it. And the last thing you want to be doing when you laying down, when you’re a little older is regret, right. I want to say, Hey, I failed and I failed real good. Right? I won, and I won real good, you know, I swung the bat, I made mistakes, I learned from it. Cause I’ve learned nothing, to be honest, from success, I’ve learned a bunch more from making the mistake and being like, wow, that I know, I kind of saw that coming. I got to really understand that gut-check going forward in the sniff test and you know, deep down, okay, that was probably, I knew that wasn’t the best idea, but I took, you know, I went a little too far, whatever, you got to bring that to the next phase. Cause you can’t swing the bat forever. You have to then be able to get into the batter’s box and know exactly where you’re going to hit the ball because you have enough background in doing it a couple of times to say, you know, you’re not going to go from the franchise business and tomorrow I’m going to say I’m to start a biotech company. That would be, you know, kind of a little nuts. So, there is a point you gotta stay in your lane, but you got to keep that bat and you got to learn from it because you go in, you know, you just got to win more than you lose, but it’s okay to lose. And I think a lot of people don’t feel, you know, don’t really embrace that. I don’t like it. Nobody likes to lose, but you got to lose with grace and you got to lose with the idea to motivate you to then, you know, make those better decisions going forward.

Jeff:
Yeah. Well, you can’t be afraid to fail, right? I mean, of course our goal is always at the beginning of any venture is to be successful, but you have to know that the possibility of failure is there and you can’t be afraid of that. Otherwise you’ll be too afraid to start or too afraid to launch. So totally off subject, but Seth Godin, who’s a marketing guy that I follow, I’ve read a lot of his work, describes writer’s block that way. So there’s really no such thing as writer’s block, what there is, is fear of creating poor writing. Right? Anyway, so you have to write a lot of bad things before you write the good stuff, you know?

Robert:
Yeah, try it, and you got to be okay with it, you can’t care. The big beef that I see right now and you know, full disclosure, I’ve never had a social media account until maybe eight months ago with a LinkedIn account, if you care what people think, you are in the wrong business of starting stuff, you can’t care what people think. You can’t listen to the voice in everybody’s head where, you know, it’s not going to work or this isn’t going to happen or you’re taking too big of a risk. I mean, look, if you’re going out of control, that’s one thing, right? But nine times out of 10 people have an idea that they want to store it and all ideas start in the garage, start in your head, start in your desk and you’ve got to just do it. It doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, you tried. It’s an experience like a vacation, vacations, cost money, right? Sometimes people spend 20 grand on a vacation. It lasts for a week, but why not spend 20 grand on something that can last for a lifetime, right? People sometimes think too much into it or listen to what people say about it. And no one’s going to live in your head except you, right. This is a very crazy place to live between ear one, the right, the right ear and the left ear. And nobody can get into that, into that space except you.

Jeff:
Yeah, well said. I took this a little off topic, we could talk about that for hours. I love that conversation. But out of respect for your time, let me ask you, describe for the listeners, and most of our listeners are very familiar with Famous Toastery, and it’s amazing. I first experienced Famous Toastery when it was Toast in Davidson years ago. And it really kind of changed how we look at or how we think about a breakfast and lunch place or a brunch place. So share like a little bit of the vision or the inspiration behind Famous Toastery, and what makes Famous Toastery such a special place.

Robert:
Well, we always, when I started this, my partner, Brian Burchill, the idea was, and this is going back years ago, the idea was that you had really good, fresh food fast, right? The idea was that you made everything in-house. There was nothing brought in, nothing frozen, which we thought was, you know, at least from where we came from, which would be a foregone conclusion in a restaurant, you know, you got to get potatoes, they were made that day. You’re going to get corn beef hash, it was made that day. You’re going to get turkey, you roasted it in-house. And we realized not many people did that. So what we, that was the vision then, and still today where everything is made in-house that day for that day. It’s the one thing that we’ve not negotiated within ourselves. And a lot of brands starts to, sometimes they have no choice, you know, cut costs to cut food. You got to find other ways to do that because that’s what makes Famous Toastery special. And you get the corn beef hash, which I love the corn beef hash, it’s made that day. When you get the hollandaise it’s made, you know, within that hour, if you get the turkey sandwich, it was roasted that day and it’s not filled with nitrates, it’s fresh, it’s made and roasted in-house. That was the vision we had years ago. And what we’re proud of is that we still do that exact same thing, right? Yes, we probably can offer some cheaper stuff to the guests and truth, we’d probably save a point or two on the cost and make a smidge more money. But our vision has always been, provide the best food, best quality and just as important, great service. That’s why we have every server is your server, and we trademarked that. Because we did that years ago before people even heard of it, where everybody working inside the restaurant works for everybody sitting down. There’s no such thing as let me get your waiter or that’s not my job, it’s a team effort, it’s team communication. And we really owned that for years, and you know, and we still do it. It’s still, nothing has changed. I mean, obviously COVID has amended stuff and made things a little slower and ticket times aren’t as fast, etc., with what has happened. But having that base has been huge, and it’s always been, you know, our competition is ourselves, you know, we’re not out, we can’t go and look to see what the next guy’s doing all the time. We’ve got to execute on our vision all the time, because that’s the only person you can control is yourself and your business. So we believe we’ve done a really good job on that. Especially on the execution side for the food and the quality of food, there is just bar none and zero competitor can say they do what we do, zero. And that’s what we’re most proud of.

Jeff:
The quality is amazing, without a doubt. You mentioned the corn beef hash, the Famous Hash is my favorite dish.

Robert:
It’s mine too, I love it.

Jeff:
Yeah, it’s amazing. Every server is your server, that is obviously a concept that really stands out when you go to Famous Toastery and especially on your first visit. And it’s a great concept and it works, so I love that concept. Was franchising part of the original vision?

Robert:
Not at all, franchising started in 2014. It was never meant to be, there was never meant to be more than one store. It started in 2005 and we had three stores in 2014. And then it started to, that’s when I moved here to actually expand it. And that’s when it started to move into the kind of the next phase of growth with it. And the goal was never to just have tons of locations. It all just came, which can be good and bad, right? Sometimes you’re not ready for all that. We were getting so many calls, hey, I’d like to open up here, hey, I’d like to open up there. And that’s when we decided to get into the franchise world so we can actually scratch that itch, and it’s kind of took off from there.

Jeff:
So you were being approached by entrepreneurs who had experienced Famous Toastery and said, I want to bring this to my town? Is that kinda how that happened?

Robert:
That’s exactly it. In the franchise business a lot of people spend lots of time and money on what’s called lead generation and trying to get people to come to you. We’ve never spent a dollar, you know, or maybe we did it once for review for a couple of days. That was never our goal, our goal wasn’t just to expand as fast as we can. Our goal was to always be slow and steady. And what happened was, once we said that we were going to do this, a lot of the patrons that were going for years were like, hey, I’d love to do something like this. And that’s where a lot of the people that were interested came in, I would say nine out of 10, the franchisees are people that they either worked for us, ate there, their child worked there. It was all kind of in-the-family to some extent.

Jeff:
Sort of like organic franchising.

Robert:
Yeah, I mean, to this day, we don’t do anything on that side. And that’s kind of the way we’ve just kind of approached it, since the beginning,

Jeff:
Where are your locations? I know you’re in Virginia, South Carolina, I believe Florida. Where else has Famous Toastery expanded?

Robert:
North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, working into Florida, and then the surrounding states. Now we’re going to start, now we’re in the process of opening more locations, signing more franchisees. So we have more stores opening as we speak, that will be in those connector states. We want to stay in the connecting states. We’re not interested in going to Utah and Arizona and New Hampshire. We just want to stay in states that kind of connect to the Carolinas, just for quality for, you know, to stay a regional brand, and to be able to support franchisees. That’s the kind of, the main direction right now, is to just be heavy onto the franchise side or franchise support.

Jeff:
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Yeah, I love that. We talked a lot about the quality of the food and the, every server is your server concept, and the quality of the food, I really can’t overstate like how amazing the menu is at Famous Toastery. And the service is always on point, so I could go on and on about how much I love the brand. Let’s talk a little bit about, I don’t know, many industries that suffered as much during the COVID pandemic as the hospitality and restaurant industries. Let’s talk it about briefly, I know it’s another conversation that we could spend hours on, but what are some of the things that your team had to do to keep the business running during the COVID pandemic? Any pivots that kind of stand out or, describe what that was like.

Robert:
Well, I will describe it as very unfun, but the, you know, we were tracking this before it happened because I was traveling a lot at the time and I’ve been hearing a lot about it, a lot of friends in California and people that do business in China. So I knew something pretty rough was coming. I was actually going through jury duty and I remember just saying, like two weeks before, three weeks for the shutdown, like, guys, I can’t do this. I’ll be glad to do my part, but I can’t do it right now because we got to prepare and they looked at me like I was crazy, you know, and that was three weeks before we shut down. So what we started doing kind of right before, was saying, look, let’s get ready for some, what they’re doing in China. Let’s get ready for just like, how would we do this? So within the first four days of the shutdown, we were able to get everything, all the online ordering up, we didn’t have online ordering, we wanted to, and we were in the process of, but we rolled out online ordering in four days. We also, within those four days, did our own curbside delivery, our own, because there was no guidance back then. No one had any, you know, you couldn’t look at the book from, you know, 10 years ago and it was COVID eight COVID, you know, 20 whatever, right, you just had to figure it out. So ironically it’s like, you know, kind of like, instinct, we did curbside delivery before it was curbside delivery. We had our menus printed on paper. And then of course you get shut down and we had to maintain, we did some things, we kept a lot of employees, kept a lot of our GMs and KMs and had them run stores to kind of keep the cohesiveness that when people would come back, it would be not all new folks. One of the things that we’re most proud of is, when this all happened, everybody was just all over the place, right, from a national and a global perspective. We said, what would we want if we were franchisees through something like this, right? Everybody’s getting crushed monetarily, you know, some landlords have been great, some have been okay, some have been horrendous. We decided that we didn’t want to make anything worse on franchisees. And we forgave, you know, royalties for many months and then went on to a very small royalty base for a while because we didn’t want to make the balance sheets any worse than they already were. And this is going into the first, you know, kind of the first 30 days, because I know if I was a franchisee and I was getting crushed, the last thing I wanted is my franchise or taken out royalties. Right. So it was a lot of hard decisions, you know, we had a lot of corporate stores, had to lay off a lot of people, you know, on the day-to-day side, but we kept a lot on the, the kind of the office, the GMs, KMs, and, you know, we just kept saying, it’s not going to last forever. You know, I lived through 9/11, right? My dad was a New York City fireman, my wife worked in the building right next to it. So I remember in New York City, you know, September 12th. And I remember six, seven months later getting on a plane and things were a little bit weird, but we got back to normal. So the mantra was, we’ll get there, we’ll get back to normal. You know, this is not forever. It’s definitely a lot longer than we all expected now, but we really just kept saying, it’s not going to last forever. We’ll be okay. We just got to keep providing great food, great service, provide support for franchisees and buckle down. And that’s what we did.

Jeff:
Absolutely. A lot of the business owners I’ve talked to did ramp up their e-commerce online ordering capabilities, right at that time. And as you said, it was something that was on the radar, perhaps on the back burner for a long time. And as it was for most of these entrepreneurs that had to hustle real fast to get that e-com up and running and four days, four days, that’s impressive. But what do you think of that going forward? I think that for a lot of these businesses that have developed an e-comm side to their business, as a result of having to keep the front door closed for weeks or months on end, it’s definitely strengthened their business. And it’s become a real, for one in particular that I interviewed, they actually have gone 100% e-com which, of course, Toastery, a restaurant is not going to do that. But, do you see this as a strength going forward for Famous Toastery?

Robert:
Well, it changed the landscape of restaurants, right? So your quick serve, your fast casual, it really didn’t hurt them, some QSRs were up through the whole thing. Certain parts of the restaurant business, pizza, if you had your first party pizza delivery company, you did great through this whole thing. Wings did great through all this. I don’t believe that a lot of the stuff that’s around today will be as strong as it is today. I think ghost kitchens will be a ghost in time. I think that the online ordering or the third-party delivery will dissipate, not right now. I mean, people are still kind of, it’s part of their life. People want to get back to where things were. People want to be in front of people to discuss life, business, kids, just to be able to have human interaction, more now than ever, which is why the casual dining chains and the casual dining restaurants and fine dining are doing so well because people want to get, you know, a foot from each other and have a conversation without wearing a body suit and acting like everyone’s going to, you know, turn into a big meatball or something. It’s just, it’s gone. Everything’s gone way too far. People want some normalcy because that’s what life, people need people. And when you keep people away from people, weird things start to happen that don’t get discussed every day. There’s a lot of crazy things that happen to people mentally, when you get shut down and shoved into a room for 14 months, people want to eat and discuss things, casual dining and fine dining is what they always did. Life is about food and beverage, you know, what are you doing Friday night? Let’s get a drink. Let’s get some dinner. What are you doing? Let’s have a barbecue. Why don’t you come over for some cocktails? Life is about food and beverage, and when you take food and beverage away, it’s tough. So I don’t foresee a lot of the, a lot of what is done so well now staying as strong, and it’s kind of helped some businesses have gone takeout only cause they can. We’re not a business that’s going to be takeout only, and we don’t ever want to be takeout only. We’re an experience restaurant. We want people to come to Famous Toastery and feel good about coming and brighten their day and feel they had good food, good service, and they were with good company. That’s what life is about. Not about DoorDash delivering to your door for the next 15 years. And for the end-user spending 15, 20% more to get that food, while the restaurants pay 30% commissions to get them. It’s not something that can succeed forever, it has been a good tool, but this lifestyle won’t last forever. Like I said before, we got to get used to that, you know, yes, we will be back to some normalcy and we will not be just wearing masks, ordering from DoorDash for the rest of our lives. So that’s our take on it.

Jeff:
Yeah. Well, I agree. Famous Toastery, like so many fine dining restaurants is really an experiential place, you know, and other than the people, the team at the restaurant, the most valuable asset is the dining room. So, you know, that’s really what makes Famous Toastery so special, in addition to the quality of the food, the experience, the service and the atmosphere of the restaurants. Yeah, I think people are, myself included, can’t wait to get back to normal, connecting with friends and colleagues and in person meetings, and you know, a lot of it’s already started back up and begun, so it’s been really good, but yeah, the last year of being, you know, just locked in a house for, and/or work for the year has been really tough.

Robert:
It’s not normal. It’s not what human beings are meant to do. This is not what you’re supposed to do. And I get it, I mean, obviously it made a lot of sense, right? I mean, at one point you really have a choice and you know, you gotta, you gotta respect that, but there is a point when life needs to move on and people need to do their business and get back to school and get back to sitting in front of people and breaking some bread.

Jeff:
Yeah, absolutely. That’s what it’s all about. We’re social, humans are tribal by nature, we’re social creatures and takeout and just staying home is not sustainable. Robert, do you have a couple of local businesses that you’d like to give shoutouts to? I know I’ve connected with a friend of yours on the podcast in the past, but are there any local businesses that you’d like to just recognize quickly?

Robert:
Yeah. You know, a business that’s done incredibly well, even through all of this, and I’m not sure if you’ve heard of them, is Abby’s Better Nut Butter. Kind of e-commerce, they’re also in a couple of thousand stores throughout the country, based out of Mooresville, North Carolina, Abby Kircher started at 15 years old. She’s now 21 and is running a pretty amazing nut butter company and has expanded into tons of stores, Whole Foods, Wegmans, etc., and talking about e-commerce, did incredibly well through e-commerce, and they’re a Lake Norman brand. And obviously Jenny Brule, who runs Davidson Ice House, has always been, she’s just a super-talented person, right in Davidson, you know, right across the street from us, I can kind of see the store. There’s a lot of just great folks. And that’s the one thing about living here is, you know, when I first moved here, when people waved at me, I thought it was weird. And now I’m the weird guy waving at everybody when I go up and down the block. So it’s just a really, it’s a fantastic community and fantastic people here.

Jeff:
Davidson is really a tight-knit community, a great community. What about books? I know we reach a point in entrepreneurship where like, we’ve read what we’re going to read, and we don’t really have a lot of time to sit down and read for hours at a time. But, any titles that you’ve read in your career that kind of stand out?

Robert:
Yeah. I mean, we were talking about this earlier before, the book that kind of changed my trajectory with just understanding life and business was Rich Dad, Poor Dad, you know? And I think a certain point in life and to each his own, right? When you have enough time to read books, you’re either not hustling enough or you have way too much time on your hands, right? And if you’re not a little stressed out, you’re not working hard enough, but that’s me. That’s the way I think, I don’t think that’s good for everyone. I’d love to have more time to be able to sit and read more. But that book really helped put things in perspective. And I recommend that to everyone. It’s like, you know, I meet someone that’s 21, they’re like, hey, what would you recommend? I’m like, that is a great book to understand about owning business, owning assets, working for someone, not working for someone, building up assets for when you get older, etc., etc. And it’s simple, right? You’re not going to go, oh I don’t understand that concept, it’s pretty straightforward. So I’ve always recommended that book and I probably should read it or shall I say, listen to it at one point again in the very near future.

Jeff:
Yeah, that’s a great book. And I actually read it by listening to it on a trip a couple of years ago. And it’s mentioned quite a few times on the podcast as well. Great title, really easy read, easy listen. And the concepts are really easy to understand and so relevant. Like one concept that stands out to me is the difference between an asset and a liability.

Robert:
Yeah, that hits home, right? They’re like, oh yeah, my house is an asset. Well, if you’re paying for it, if someone else is paying for it then fantastic, that’s right, they’re paying your mortgage. But when you’re paying the mortgage, it is not an asset. When you sell it, you know, and you make some money on it, but you still paid into it.

Jeff:
Absolutely. That concept was kind of eye-opening and put some things into perspective for me as well. On that note, you mentioned, if you’re speaking with a twenty-something-year-old or someone just starting out in business, that would be a title to recommend, or even just starting out in adulthood, that’s a great title to read. Any advice for small business owners that are a little green or considering getting into the small business world?

Robert:
You know, when people, and I look at it in other ventures that I’m involved with, a year ago, a year from now, you’re going to wish you started today, right? So you can’t always be thinking about, okay, well, I’ll get to it, I’ll get to it, I’ll get to it. One day you wake up and you’re just older. One day you wake up and you have grandkids or something like that, right. Or, you know, you feel that the world’s passed you by, you don’t want to do that. You just gotta go out and do it. I don’t recommend, one of the things I did, it was not the best idea is, I kind of left a really good job to go and start business, but I should’ve stayed and had that as a side hustle for another year or two, right? So one thing, it’s good to have the income coming in and side hustle. There’s 24 hours in a day, you don’t need to sleep for 12 of them. You don’t need to play, you know, video games and Netflix, right. Get rid of the Netflix, get rid of the video games, spend the four hours a night, working on your side hustle and working on another business as you work a regular job and do it now. And don’t be, look, you swing the bat, it’s okay to fail. It’s okay to make a mistake. I mean, that’s the funny thing. I talked to a lot of people out there always, you know, I don’t want to about the, all the good stuff that I’ve done. I like to talk about what didn’t work, because that’s where you learn, you know, oh yeah, you know, I created X and I made X and an exit. Well, tell me about what happened before that, because I don’t like the highlight reel. People can’t look at people’s highlight reel, and the problem with social media and young folks is that they look at a, oh, look at my, you know, rented Ferrari in back of me, if you just buy this thing, you know. Or if you start this company and you buy my thing for $9.99 a month, you can have what I have. That’s not the way life works. Life is not a highlight reel, life is a, you know, sometimes a strikeout reel that nobody wants to show, and that’s what I see a lot. Because I’m not a social media guy, I see it, but I see some of these videos and I’m like, it’s just not real life. Real life is hard work, real life is a lot of disappointment when you’re starting a business or a restaurant or a nut butter company or whatever, there’s a lot of disappointment. People don’t show up this guy quit, or you know, this was more than I expected or I’m working more hours or the building I just bought needs more work. But you know, 10 years later that building’s worth X more dollars. It was, it took you 10 years to sell it and make a million bucks. There’s no highlight reel there, that’s 10 years, you know, thousands of days to actually get to where you need to get to. And unfortunately we’re in a society where things are so quick and we, you know, the young folks kind of buy into that, which is, you know, it’s tough to see because everything’s tough. I mean, nothing’s, lottery, that’s easy, right? But on the flip side, you win the lottery and mostly lose it. Right? So it’s all about perspective, having a game plan, you know, you don’t need to be an Anthony Robbins when you get up, you write your goals everywhere and you’re following all this. I mean, he’s great. Don’t get me wrong. I loved, I wish I can be as insane as that guy is, with what he’s done, but you gotta be you, right. If you’re one that you say, you know, my goal is to go and start a company. And what you do is you’ll get up, you’ll have a slice of toast and apple, and you just get going. Some people meditate, some people take a bath. Whatever’s good for you, you do, you know, don’t listen to everybody else and what they’re going to do. There’s only one person controlling you and that’s you.

Jeff:
Yeah. The social media conversation we can have, that can take a long time too, but no one’s posting their losses or their failures. It’s a really filtered view of life that I think can be in some ways more problematic than positive, but definitely another conversation. One of my favorite quotes is, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now.”

Robert:
That’s right, that’s it. You know, and to your point about, even with when there’s so many people looking at highlight reels, it gets them de-motivated to want to like, ah, I’m just, how am I going to go, how am I going to go from my 1991 Toyota Corolla to a 2021 Ferrari? Right? And I, you know, when I see anything like that, it just makes me nuts when someone’s, you know, showing the Ferrari thing, it’s just, it’s all bait stuff. But again, you gotta follow your own internal passion and what’s good for you. And that stuff’s all fake, you know, it’s all just made up, you know? Yeah, people get there, but you get there in 15, 20, 30 years.

Jeff:
Yeah, absolutely. We can sometimes look at that and start comparing ourselves and it can cause us to get down on ourselves and doubt ourselves and doubt whether or not we can do it, or whether or not we should do it, or if we’re good enough. So from that perspective, I think that anything on social media, we really need to consider the reality and filter through our own reality. So, you know, we all wish we had started sooner. I wish I had started a podcast 10 years ago, but I knew when I started this one that, you know, the second best time was to start it now. And I knew it wasn’t going to be perfect. And it’s an endless process of refinement and that’s life, that’s business, and that’s life.

Robert:
That’s right. That’s right. You gotta embrace it. You know, I always say, especially during COVID, I said embrace the punch in the face. Right. Because it’s just not, so you can’t, you know, you got to bob and weave cause you’re going to get hit. You gotta be able to keep going.

Jeff:
Was it Mike Tyson that said everybody has a plan till they get punched in the face?

Robert:
That’s right. And that was COVID, you got to see, you know, it put a lot of people in positions to be things they’re not, you know, if you’re, if you’re running a boutique nail salon, now you’re negotiating with the landlord and the government and workers. It put a lot of people in the spot that was really tough because it put a lot of undue stress on people, which look, the whole world was in stress, but there’s a lot of unintended consequences to the last 13, 14 months or whatever it is at this point. But now look, we are where we are, we can’t be complaining about it anymore, you’ve got to move on. It is what it is, whether you like how it happened or the way it happened, or who controls who, or politics or whatever, you’ve got to, you know, you got to put the mouthpiece on and get back in the ring and start, you know, start swinging, it’s time, no excuses, you know, it doesn’t matter about all these other stuff that’s out there. You got to go out there and execute because only, you know, only you can control you. I keep saying that.

Jeff:
Yeah. That’s well said for sure. Only you can control you and this too shall pass. Robert, I’ve taken up more time, as usual than I had asked you for, and I really appreciate you joining the podcast. This has been a real honor to have you on the podcast to share the story about Famous Toastery and to share some insights. And I’m so pleased to finally get to feature Famous Toastery on the podcast, because I’m just such a huge fan. I know so many of my listeners are as well.

Robert:
Thank you very much for having me on, Jeff. I really do appreciate it.

Jeff:
My friends, Robert shared a lot of entrepreneurial wisdom there. I hope you absorbed it. If not, it’s definitely worth another listen, many thanks again to my guest, Robert Maynard, for joining the podcast. This was a real honor. And I’m so glad that we were able to connect. Listeners, if you’re among the few that haven’t experienced the Famous Toastery concept yet I highly recommend you do so soon. You can learn more and find a location near you at www.famoustoastery.com. I’ll have links in the show notes to Famous Toastery, as well as the other local businesses Robert mentioned. As always, the complete show notes to all of our episodes can be found at the home for the Best of LKN podcast, www.thebestoflkn.com. We’ll also have the transcription for this episode available in the show notes within just a few days of release. The transcriptions make this podcast accessible to everyone, including those with hearing disabilities. Also the latest article on the blog features a list of our favorite local pizza places. Check it out at thebestoflkn.com/blog and see if your favorite made the list. Thanks again, for following along with the podcast, we are really honored that you joined us. Remember to shop a local, small business or two this week. I’ll catch up with you again next week. Until then, cheers Lake Norman. Bye for now.

Narrator:
We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of the Best of LKN. For more information about this podcast, show notes, video episodes, and links to our featured businesses, please visit www.thebestoflkn.com. We publish episodes weekly, so be sure to subscribe and stay up to date. Until next time, cheers Lake Norman.