Anand Patel works to empower his employees to tap into their potential to succeed, and he plans to open a nonprofit restaurant that will do that for people who are transitioning into the workforce from high school, the military or prison.
Patel said he was guided by the principle of treating people as you would yourself because no one is better or worse than anyone else.
Patel grew up on the Gulf Coast, the son of Indian immigrants who came to the U.S. in the 1970s and owned a variety of businesses, from gas stations and grocery stores to hotels, restaurants and a glass company.
He earned his degree in management from the University of South Alabama and then worked in his family’s businesses until 2011, when he moved to Jonesboro to strike out on his own by opening the first of eight successful restaurants: a Dairy Queen franchise.
Patel said his goal is ultimately to generate profit that can go back into the community to give children opportunities in the form of after-school programs.