Q: How about raising money?
A: I went to 93 people before someone said yes. It was very humbling and frustrating.
Q: So whom were you able to persuade to invest in your concept?
A: I met a guy who introduced me to my current [business] partner, David Robkin. He's CEO of the Nashville-based Bigger Picture Group. David and I are the ones behind this. We also have a silent partner, Brook Lenfest. [Lenfest's father, businessman and philanthropist H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest, is a partner in Interstate General Media, which owns the Daily News, the Inquirer and Philly.com.]
Q: When did the two Honeygrow locations open?
A: We opened on 16th near Sansom in June 2012, and on City Avenue in Bala in January 2013.
Q: How is Honeygrow different from others in the healthy/fast/casual food space?
A: We try to find good people. I like to hire artists. They care about their product, and we train them to fit in with the team. We want people who are outgoing, self-disciplined, ready to rock. We cook everything ourselves, we make the salads, the dressing, the sauces. We cook the chicken, pork and beef, so there's no B.S. behind what we do.
Q: Who are your patrons?
A: People who want something that's quick and wholesome. People who come [to the 16th Street location] enjoy salads, typically a healthy salad. They may come after a workout; they may work on Market Street. Those who come at night live nearby. In Bala, you have a lot of St. Joe's students, people from Bala and West Philly.
Q: What's a meal cost here?
A: We spent a lot of time figuring out what the right price point was. For $7.50, you can create your own stir fry: You get a fresh egg-white noodle, brown rice, three vegetables, chicken, two garnishes [shallots, cilantro, parsley], sauce, a drink for an extra buck and change plus tax for $10.
Q: How many employees?
A: Between both locations, probably about 65, and I'd say 80 percent are full time.
Q: What's next?
A: Our two places are exceeding initial [sales] projections. I've hired a director of operations, which allows me time to focus on branding and expansion.
On Twitter: @MHinkelman