“I grew up working in my family’s restaurants, and I always said to myself that I didn’t want to get into this business because I learned early on that owning a restaurant is an all-consuming lifestyle,” says Michael Wang, former Wall Street employee turned entrepreneur.
Several years and jobs later, Wang realized the potential in his generations-old family recipes. After graduating from Harvard Business School in 2001, he pursued a new standard in Asian takeout — Foumami.
Today, Michael serves up success and signature Asian-inspired dishes in Boston’s Financial District and is focused on expansion plans for the chain.
Learn how third-generation restaurateur and Harvard MBA, Michael Wang launched his breakfast and lunch cafe, Foumami and why he believes everyone should make more time to “think” and not just “do.”
|Industry:||Food & Beverage|
How I Got Started:
I’m a third-generation restaurateur. In the 1940s, my grandfather founded the famed Chew Young Roo chain of restaurants in Asia, which were known for water dumplings. My family ran that business for 50+ years.
I grew up working in my family’s restaurants, and I always said to myself that I didn’t want to get into this business because I learned early on that owning a restaurant is an all-consuming lifestyle.
After graduating from New York University in 1993, I joined Goldman Sachs working in their fixed income division in New York. In the six years following, I held a varied series of jobs, and eventually realized that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I also realized that my most valuable entrepreneurial assets were the knowledge and experiences to which I was born.
I applied and was accepted to the MBA program at Harvard Business School, and utilized my two years there undertaking intense research on multiple aspects of the restaurant industry, which led to my fast-casual Asian sandwich bar concept.
Located in Boston’s Financial District, Foumami is a breakfast and lunch café offering Asian-inspired sandwiches, salads, soups, and drinks. My generations-old family recipes and and traditional flavors from Japan, Korea and China provide the foundation on which we design our signature dishes, most notably of which are the sandwiches served on freshly baked shao bing bread.
Best Success Story:
Foumami is my first restaurant venture as a solo entrepreneur.
Though we’re currently at a single prototype location, my focus is on growing and expanding to a chain of multiple units. I’m currently working on opening second and third units in Boston.
Taking my approach to the business and launching a scalable company has been hugely fulfilling. Even before opening Foumami, all of my business decisions went toward achieving a particular end – rather than getting lost in the day-to-day, it’s important to make strategic decisions to achieve an end goal.