We had the good fortune of connecting with Sam Kaiser and Mike Youssef and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sam/Mike, what role has risk played in your life or career?
The most important decisions in life and business typically come with levels of risk. What has served us well in the early stages of developing our company is the ability to calculate that risk and be pragmatic. Going into business for yourself is inherently risky, but sitting down and assessing risk from as many angles as possible is something that can help mitigate it. We constantly try to think about things like funding, lack of income, marketing, customer satisfaction. timeline of scaling in the “worst possible scenario” so that we can plan accordingly if we encounter that situation. So far this mentality has made us more prepared and we feel that it gives us defense against most risk.
At the end of the day, entrepreneurism is always going to throw curveballs and the ability to absorb issues and quickly learn from them will help build a successful company. However, if that curveball has already been identified as a possible scenario during the planning process, the company can have a solution ready to go in their back pocket.
Sam Kaiser & Mike Youssef
What should our readers know about your business?
We are the Furlough Brothers- a duo of former hospitality professionals who lost our jobs in March of 2020 and decided to start our own restaurant. We currently run three different concepts out of a virtual kitchen in the Trinity Groves area of Dallas. Our flagship concept is Furlough Brothers cheesesteaks which focuses on fresh, house made ingredients that try to pay homage to an iconic sandwich while also implement some culinary creativity. While we do have our tribute to the original cheesesteak, we offer items like a Korean BBQ cheesesteak, smoked brisket cheesesteak, Al Pastor burrito, buffalo chicken cheesesteak, and a fully loaded mac & cheese muffin! Since opening March 5, 2021 we have launched two other concepts- “Packin’ Bowls” & “Furlough Salads”. These two concepts utilize our protein offerings and give guests a chance to build bowls over mixed greens, iceberg lettuce, cauliflower rice, quinoa, or white rice. If you take anything away from reading about us we want it to be that we focus on freshness and our recipes are inspired by family cooking and things we’ve picked up along our culinary journey.
As for starting a company- it was definitely not easy. In fact, it wasn’t two days after we decided to start our own business that we ran into the first major decision. The idea for Furlough Brothers began as a food truck concept. As we searched for the necessary commissary kitchen where we would prepare our food, we were met with a lot of negative feedback regarding the difficulty of maintaining a successful food truck operation in the city of Dallas. Whether it was difficulty finding places to park or the red tape involved in the permitting process, it seemed like it would be very difficult to sustain. However, we had one simple question asked to us…”Why would you start a food truck, when you could just do a virtual kitchen?” it was this question that rerouted our focus and propelled us to where we are today.
Losing our jobs was tough, but it was never looked at as a devastation. It is what we needed to turn on that entrepreneurial mindset and launch the Furlough Brothers!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
First stop would definitely be Furlough Brothers and Packin’ Bowls so they could experience the most delicious cheesesteaks and protein bowls Dallas has to offer. Throughout the week we would want to visit Boulivardier and Revelers Hall in Bishop Arts, Armory in Deep Ellum, La Victoria for breakfast burritos, Breadwinners or Rustic for brunch, Alamo Club or Old Crow in lower greenville, Smithy on Knox Henderson. Texas Ale Project, Four Corners, and Peticolas are three breweries we would definitely check out. Also, the Dallas Zoo, Perot Museum, Arboretum and Dealy Plaza would be on the list too.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The most important piece of starting and maintaining a successful company is surrounding yourself with people that support the journey you are taking. We have been lucky enough to have family and significant others that have shown support and positivity throughout. We would not be a company if it weren’t for them.
Instagram: @furloughbrothers @packin_bowls
Twitter: @furloughbrothers @bowls_packin
Facebook: @furloughbros @packin_bowls
Yelp: Furlough Brothers; Packin’ Bowls
Other: You can always email us at email@example.com
Image Credit: @foodie_munster, Ashley Estave, Nicola Trombley