Chris Chen, Phil Nguyen and Mike Cho met in college as members of the same fraternity.
“After graduating, we hung out a lot.
After college, Chen and Nguyen started working for a company, but they weren’t satisfied.
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“I just started talking to Chris,[I]wanted to do a restaurant, he wanted to do coffee, and it just kind of took off from there,” Nguyen said. “And when we added the mic, the fast-casual concept started. We had no intention of offering casual Vietnamese food in 2016.”
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After coming up with the idea, the three business partners quickly took the leap to make their dream a reality.
“It was pretty scary,” Chen said. “We quit our jobs with no concrete future. They didn’t take us seriously because we were 24 or 26 years old.
The three grew up in family-run restaurants. This made parents concerned when the trio wanted to enter the industry.
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“They told me, ‘Don’t open a restaurant,'” Chen said. “I have seen them struggle and work hard every day. Ultimately, I was like, ‘You know what I’m thinking… I want to do it.'”
A group of entrepreneurs were able to find a small place in Winter Park. Two years later, Viet-Nomz expanded to her second location in the Waterford Lakes area. This was a big upgrade for the trio.
“Our first location is only 1,000 square feet. said Cho.
The three are now expanding to three locations in Central Florida: Winter Park, Waterford Lakes and Lake Mary.
They believe that one of the keys to their success is the accessibility of their menus.
“I think one of the great things about Viet-Nomz is that if you’ve never had Vietnamese food, it’s a great restaurant to begin with,” says Chen. “We highlight all the popular Vietnamese fare.”
In the latest episode of Florida Foodie, Chen, Nguyen and Cho share how they cook using their family’s home kitchen. They also talk about how they’ve dealt with the pandemic and share some of their favorite menu items.
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Florida Foodie is a bi-weekly podcast by WKMG and Graham Media that takes a closer look at what and how we eat and how it affects everyone here in Florida and everywhere.Find new episodes apple podcast, A place to download stitchers or your favorite podcasts. You can also see Florida Foodie Always News 6+.
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