Member Spotlight on Louis DeAngelo


Member Spotlight on LOUIS DEANGELO
Founder/CEO, Louis DeAngelo's Hospitality Group

Interview conducted by Winnie Hart, Communications Director

Please tell us briefly about your company.
We are in the hospitality business, specifically with retail restaurants that are casual-Italian in menu offerings and decor. In addition, we have a fresh produce and specialty produce division that delivers food to lots of restaurants in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas.

How did you come up with an original idea for your business?
I worked in a similar style restaurant when I was 10 years old and fell in love with the idea of cooking for and serving others. There is something about food and sharing quality time with your family and friends that really was a turn-on for me. I decided I was going to open my own restaurant when I was about 17, but it took me a few years to figure out how to do it. The wholesale division was simply a natural extension of our original business concept as I was already bringing in truckloads of certain products for our restaurants. Selling to other restaurant owners was very easy because I had 15 years experience on the other side of the kitchen door so it was less about selling and more about extending a hand.

What do you like best about your business?
The relationships and how genuine leadership has the ability to create monumental changes in the lives of people who really are interested in learning and growing.

How much money did you have to invest to start your business?
A $50,000 loan from my grandfather that was set up as a simple interest loan for 5 years and I paid it off in about three and a half.

What are your current annual revenues and number of employees?
Currently 550 teammates and roughly $16 million in sales.

What is your proudest accomplishment to date in your business?
Setting out to raise $1 million for Junior Achievement.
 
When did you first realize you were going to be an entrepreneur?
When I was about 12 but I didn't know what that word meant then. I just thought it meant I was not going to be a 9 to 5'er.
 
What is your most proud accomplishment in your entire life?
Marrying...or rather convincing my high school sweetheart to marry me and our 5 amazing little children.

Why do you think you have been successful?
Because I have incredibly smart and caring people around me.

What has been the best thing about serving on the EO New Orleans board?
Serving with a group of very smart and passionate entrepreneurs. We actually all get along very well if you can believe that.

What is something that most people don't know about you?
I am perfectly happy eating PB&J most evenings.

Who has the biggest influence on your life?
I am totally enamored with Leonardo Da Vinci simply because he was able to create many things that were, and are still today, extraordinary, and he did it simply because he believed he could.

What are the most influential books that you have read?
Peter Block's The Answer to How is Yes, and Robert Persig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Both are excellent philosophy-based books with tremendous application to our daily lives.

What's on your pizza?
This is the title to a book I am writing about facing our fears so that we can find meaning in our search for authenticity. If I understood this at the start of my entrepreneurial career, I would have saved myself a lot of time. However, the time I've spent has been HUGELY valuable.


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