Good food? Quality service? Good atmosphere? The Academy Class of Leadership Springfield received a lesson they never expected for the restaurant business.
Mike Jalili opened up his Black Sheep restaurant in south Springfield for a tour of the kitchen. He also opened up on some insight into what has made him successful.
“I liked how it was business day, but he was focused on happiness,” said Lauren Spence of Parkview High School. “It was more like your overall life, than just being successful strategically.”
Jalili told the students he, too, believed in working hard when he came to the United States after growing up in Iran. He quickly learned a lesson the hard way about the value of positivity. Jalili surprised the students by explaining his staff’s happiness is the key to success.
“I liked how he talked about positivity,” said Sydney Clayton of Parkview High School. “If you are not happy, people around you are not going to be happy. You will just drive the whole mood down. It was interesting back in the kitchen how everyone was joking around and not taking their job too serious, but they were still working.”
The longtime business owner shared he, too, is always asking others for advice, and specifically mentioned leaning on Andy’s owner Andy Kuntz. He told the aspiring entrepreneurs he thinks more about his business than he does his profits. He caught the students’ attention by hammering home the idea of doing your homework, and the money will come.
Students say the program day had them dreaming of opening a business one day.
“It’s kind of a cool thing to start a business and see where it leads to,” said Alyson Revie of Parkview. “It could then become a huge thing.”
So why did Mike Jalili name his burger and shake restaurant Black Sheep? The menu, of course. He says it’s the one restaurant that’s different than the rest.