Jason Crain, chief revenue officer of Slutty Vegan ATL, was chosen for the Power List by founder and CEO Pinky Cole because of how he “embodies our mission and values and has helped the company grow over the past year.” Here’s what else Cole had to say:
Jason Crain is the chief revenue officer at Slutty Vegan ATL. He embodies our mission and values and has helped the company grow over the past year. He has positively impacted the company by creating opportunities for us in retail sales and has been instrumental in the company expanding and we are grateful for all that he does at Slutty Vegan.
Jason is an excellent leader, he is the type to roll up his sleeves and always get the job done. He is reliable and innovative and always thinks outside of the box. Jason is a Power Player at Slutty Vegan and I know with him we will continue to excel.
Restaurant Hospitality talked with Jason Crain about how Slutty Vegan makes a positive impact on its communities. Here’s what he had to say:
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned during this chaotic year?
I’ve learned alot about the industry and about our business. COVID has taught us a number of things that we’ve been able to implement for better efficiencies and increased profit margins: 1. Maximize square space for selling more products and providing more engaging experiences. Given the lifestyle brand that we are maturing to be, we had a unique opportunity to replace planned seating with merch stores; that has turned out to be lucrative. 2. Putting technology at the forefront in the restaurant industry is how we will scale and make consistency the priority of our growing business. We’ve invested in a number of systems and softwares that have helped provide transparency, garner insights and communicate with our employees and customers. 3. Our employees are the heartbeat of this business, when they feel, we all feel, when they hurt, we all hurt, when they are sick, we all (can get) sick. We have to lead with a level of empathy that makes it easy for our employees to know that we are all in this together. We have all felt the toll of 2020. But at Slutty Vegan they are not in this alone, our crew is our family and I can’t forget that.
What are you most proud of in terms of company leadership and community impact as you look back at the challenges of 2020?
We are growing aggressively in an industry that is ripe for disruption, during a time when businesses are shutting their doors. We are building a brand that looks like none other and it’s only possible because of the community that Pinky has built. She leads with transparency and our customers are grateful for that view into her journey. We continue to look for ways to engage our community, and speak to them in a way that they can relate. Our marketing has been unparalleled. Our community has supported us through this challenging time and we are grateful for the loyal Sluts that frequent our restaurants, and we’ll always look for more ways to give back to the community that continues to pour into us.
How are you or your company fostering diverse and inclusive future leaders of foodservice?
We are a Black business based on ownership, but we provide food for the soul, no matter what color, creed, or perspective that soul belongs to. We hire diverse talent, we promote women and minorities at equal rates and we encourage eachother to pursue more. Our career paths are clear and supported with training to accomodate a self paced learning environment. We celebrate employee wins and we hold eachother accountable, all in the name of the Slutty family.
What does leadership and impact mean to you?
Leadership for me is knowing when to lead from behind like a shepherd, knowing how to balance patience and grit, understanding when empathy will be more productive than a strong tongue. Leading is dynamic and solution oriented. If these are top of mind, impact and positive impact is inevitable.
As you look to the future of foodservice, what excites you? What’s something you’re looking forward to in your job or in the restaurant industry in 2021?
I’m excited to scale this business. We have a brand and product that people want. The goal is to provide our experience to people near and far and do it in a way that blazes a path for new vegan cuisine, Black businesses and small businesses to learn from. Reimagining plant based food is the foundation of our business, but we will continue to scale an experience that people can be proud of and yearn for over and over again.