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How Memphis Black Restaurant Week's Founder Turned a Setback into a Big Win

by  CN Team on August 11, 2017
How Memphis Black Restaurant Week's Founder Turned a Setback into a Big Win

(Photo courtesy Cynthia Daniels)

In 2008, Daniels was given the pink slip and was forced to abandon one of her fondest passions: recruiting talented mentors to serve at-risk youth. It was an emotional loss, to say the least.

And when you’re an educated professional standing tall with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree who can’t find another job after a year of searching, you can either become bitter or better.

Daniels chose the latter. She left her home in Atlanta and started a new path in Memphis, walking a road that led to some of her greatest professional victories. She became president of the Memphis Urban League Young Professionals, helping small businesses gain visibility as a social media manager.

She then launched Memphis Black Restaurant Week—an initiative that generated over $80,000 of profits for local businesses in one week.

How does one person move to another city and change the financial potential of black-owned businesses? Black Enterprise caught up with Daniels to discuss her brilliant idea and how she created endless business opportunities in Memphis.

How did you come up with the idea for Memphis Black Restaurant Week and did you expect it to be as profitable as it was? What do you think was key to your success?

Memphis is a big food town! It’s the one thing the city rallies around. I met with some of the owners of black restaurants to get feedback as to how they were doing and what they thought would help them to prosper and grow. The consensus was a lack of support from the black community and the lack of money to market their restaurants to all of Memphis.

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