Founders & Visionaries - May 2011
Six companies with visionaries at the helm.
(page 5 of 6)
L & L Co-founders (left) Eddie Flores, Jr. and (right) Johnson Kam.
A Taste of Hawaii Served Nationwide
While some may argue that the surfing is Hawaii’s most popular export, very few will argue that it’s most delicious export is L & L Drive-Inn/Hawaiian Barbecue®. The legendary story began in 1976, Eddie Flores purchased an L & L Drive-Inn as a gift to his mother. Later, he asked his friend Johnson Kam to join the company to help his mother with the business. When Johnson was ready to expand the restaurant in 1990, he asked Eddie to rejoin the business. Eddie and Johnson expanded the L & L restaurant from a single store to 190 locations during a time of unprecedented economic hardship in Hawaii.
In late 1999, Eddie and Johnson introduced their L & L brand of plate lunches to the mainland in California. Anticipating the unfamiliarity of the plate lunch to the mainland, Eddie took a major risk and repackaged it as “L & L Hawaiian Barbecue.” L & L Drive-Inn/Hawaiian Barbecue® serves a Hawaiian dish that includes two large scoops of rice and one scoop of macaroni salad with entrees such as chicken katsu, beef curry, deep-fried shrimp, mahi mahi, lemon chicken, barbecue short ribs and hamburger steak. L & L Drive-Inn/Hawaiian Barbecue’s® unique meal composition and signature brand of Asian and American fusion cuisine has helped it to stand out from the others that offer Hawaiian-style cuisine. The L & L Drive-Inn/ Hawaiian Barbecue® concept has spread like wild fire. Today there are 190 L & L Drive-Inn/Hawaiian Barbecue® restaurants in Hawaii, California, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, Utah, Texas, New York, U.S. Territory of American Samoa, New Zealand and Japan.
Flores and Kam attribute their success to a decentralized system of ownership through franchising in which each restaurant is a separately incorporated profit center, run by partners in the corporation or individual owners. Their success is furthermore enhanced by immersing customers with the Aloha spirit. L & L Drive-Inn/Hawaiian Barbecue’s® success has earned the company many awards and rankings in various local and national media such as Nation’s Restaurant News, Restaurant & Institutions magazine, Restaurant Business magazine and Entrepreneur magazine.
L & L Drive-Inn/Hawaiian Barbecue’s® strong Hawaii roots provide the basis for the company’s long-standing mission statement: To promote and spread the culture and image of Hawaii throughout the world by serving with the spirit of Aloha and the traditional plate lunch meals of the multi-ethnic islanders who make up Hawaii while offering sound business opportunities for franchisees.
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