Casa Maria Mexican Grill’s Fahim Jamil

About This Episode

Casa Maria Watson owner Fahim Jamil joins Local Leaders: The Podcast Host Jim Chapman and discusses not only the in’s and out’s of this popular Mexican eatery in Watson, Louisiana but also his amazing story to get to this point. Born in Kabul, Afghanistan Fahim arrived in the United States at the age of 12. By the age of 15, Fahim was working in the restaurant business as a dishwasher and rose quickly to the point he opened his own restaurant in Watson 8 years ago. It’s an amazing story of the American Dream, so check it out!

Casa Maria Watson on the web:

Transcript (Beta)

hi this is crystal hardison from southeastern livingston center i’m the director and you are listening to local leaders the podcast hey everyone it’s jim chapman with local leaders of the podcast and i want to make you aware of a fantastic deal they have going on right now at fit body boot camp in denham springs louisiana if you go to the link get fit denim springs dot com slash local leaders you can get thirty dollars off of the regular price of a hundred and twenty nine dollars for thirty days of classes go to the link click it sign up 30 day classes for only 99 through that link it’s a special deal offered to all of our listeners at local leaders the podcast

uh hey everyone and welcome back to another edition of local leaders the podcast and boy am i pumped up today i have a man on my show that knows how to party knows how to run a business he makes life here in livingston parish that much better especially with his parties at casa maria mexican grill in watson and that is mr fahem jamil how are you sir i’m doing good thank you well welcome to local leaders the podcast i’ve been excited for this one since we met the first time i’ve been kind of researching you a little bit you’ve done some podcasts in the past yes i have that made my job you know a little bit easier i was able to kind of go back and and actually watched your podcast on the thread when you did it the first time and uh and re-watched it uh just a few days ago so as interesting as it was the first time and uh you kind of talked about your life you’re from kabul afghanistan originally yes i am you escaped the taliban to live in the united states at the age of 12. yes that’s a heck of a story in and of itself so i’d recommend people go watch that because this is going to be about his business but that’s more about his life uh uh growing up in that environment and making his way here to the united states we you were a refugee yes i have i’ve been here as a refugee yeah since 12. 12 years old american dream story right yes i mean you’re a business owner now and uh and just rocking and rolling here you attended lee high school yes i have a rebel i did i love lee high school that was one of my things yeah baton rouge a very well-known school in baton rouge and you were a good student yes i was i was uh in some honorable classes yeah i was anytime they had like a a function going on i was the host of it yeah that’s some fun stuff yeah not a shy bone in your body as you say no no not at all i can relate to that i’ve never been accused of being shy and uh when you were there at lehigh you you know one thing about business owners that i find in common with a lot of a lot of us is the fact that we all kind of started work early in life yes you know we weren’t 18 19 we weren’t waiting till we finished college to find a job that kind of thing um you started working at 15 yes i was uh i was i started working as a dishwasher in a restaurant in band rooms okay when i was 15 years old mexican restaurant yes it was okay well that that makes sense considering you own one now and i found it very interesting that you started off at the bottom so kind of tell me about that experience at 15 years old and finally going to work and how you worked your way up in that company well um i started as a dishwasher in a mexican restaurant and i became a server i became a bus boy then i attended a bartender then they’re like hey once you become a manager you know you do so well and you kind of know everything in this place yeah so i started managing the restaurant while the owner was going out of town doing this or doing that um and then here i am today yeah my own restaurant how about that huh and how long were you there uh i was working on the restaurant for like probably 10 maybe like a little bit like eight years oh wow you were there a long time yeah yeah i only had well basically only had two jobs since i’ve been here really yeah go ahead team dedicated very good and that and that kind of you know you earned your stripes as we say you started out at the bottom as a dishwasher you moved to sir you’re a bartender eventually became a manager so you’re learning that entire business from one end to the other which is a huge advantage for for a business owner and let’s fast forward you know a little bit at some point you just you know i don’t know if you decided on your own i want to open my own restaurant or someone approached you with it kind of tell me that story yes well um you know i work for another restaurant for a while and then i left and i came to casa yeah and i was working for casa for a little bit then i went back to the restaurant oh okay to work you know to work over there for a few for like probably like two years and then i had a call from um now as my business partner khalid yes um he goes by kevin okay it’s like hey you know we opening a restaurant watson would you be interested to be a partner yeah and and and i remember he told me it’s a beautiful truck been parked outside of that parking lot every time i passed by and you’re a workaholic so i think you should fit in with us so he had his eye on you yeah so he uh that was you know we kind of um talked a little bit and then and i took that offer yeah and that’s how i started my career wow were you nervous were you like man i hope i’m making the right decision or was it something you just there was no way you were turning that down no this is uh that was my goal in life my goal in life was to own a restaurant and work in a restaurant industry yeah and when they offered me that position i just jumped on it and i don’t think i was afraid i was more excited to see what the future bring me gotcha gotcha yeah and that’s that you know you kind of knew where you wanted to go and that’s kind of our first important lesson for today is always have goals right exactly um i noticed that with business owners there’s always short-term goals and long-term goals and your long-term goal was you wanted to own your own place you were put in a position at 15 years old yeah to do something that uh that you kind of mastered and that was every job in that business which is perfect for what you do now right yeah very good so um i guess my next question is so casa maria was already in existence just not in watson they had other locations yeah i think um i think our first restaurant we opened probably i would say 22 years ago maybe oh wow customary bluebonnet yes was our first one totally familiar with that one yeah okay same owners same same guys the same owners um and then they opened custom marina college drive and that’s what that’s what i worked at yeah and that’s how i became part of nasa from there on yeah that’s right that’s right so you do you make your way to uh watson in 2015 and and curious what did you think about the watson community at that point because one thing that’s intriguing about business owners is they all have to choose a location and i try to remind people on this show that as much as we dedicate ourselves to whatever business it is they are also dedicating themselves to us it’s it’s kind of a marriage you know uh y’all could have went anywhere yes of course you know and you chose watson so what was the appeal with watson well watson i feel like um it was it’s one of the towns that like we had a customary on flannery and a lot of people drove from watson and central and you know and then i’m to come eat there yeah so we when you know when opportunity opened up for us to open watson i think we jumped on it because we had a lot of followers from this area yeah good watch the flannery all the time so we just took that opportunity to open up on watson very very good point and you know people sometimes when you go to a store or something like that they’ll they’ll ask you your zip code yeah and a lot of people are like i don’t know if i want you to know where i live but the primary reason for that is they’re trying to figure out a lot of times if they need to put a location there whatever it is and if there were a bunch of people that were 70726 and you’re buying something off bluebonnet well they’re going to know if we put a store and you know that area code we’re probably going to have a lot of customers right off the bat right yeah of course very important that research if you follow fajim on facebook folks one thing that’s undeniable is your amazing father to your son aaron uh you’re always posting stuff on there with you and your son and i love seeing that stuff and much like myself you’re a self-proclaimed workaholic yes so here’s a question that i think people can learn from and that is how do you manage and find that balance between being a business owner and being a father because both of those things demand a lot of time right yeah i agree yeah so how do you do that sandra richard has been in the business of selling homes for over 20 years this award-winning realtor brings the perfect blend of professionalism integrity and client satisfaction to every buying and selling transaction a passion for both her clients and her community makes sandra the perfect choice when buying or selling your home so if you’re in need call the cajun lady sandra richard at 225-955-5484

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i feel like being a father second job yeah yeah and uh and you know and as um as of being both you know father and a workaholic yes um i what i’d what in my opinion what works for me best i have a great group of people that work for me and it makes my life much easier so i you know for over the year i built that relationship with my employees and customers that you know like my family comes as important as my business yeah so i like to make time for both so i always i’m always i hate i step ahead on on things i do when i have my son with me so i always have schedules like hey i won’t be working this so i’ll be leaving early to do this yeah so i like to get involved with both of them yeah so very good that’s uh it’s one of my things that i like to do i like to make my schedule early yes and be ahead of everything so i make time and i don’t run into problems just in case i have my son yes yes but it’s a it’s a great idea and and uh i’ll tell you it’s hard man it’s hard when you’re uh you’re like us i guess you could say and you know we work and and look i’ll be the first to tell people i’m a total workaholic um but it’s not work to me it’s it’s just life yeah and that’s you know i’m sure you feel the same way it’s it’s uh you know it’s an old saying if you love what you do you never work no we work but and we we’re cognizant that we’re working but it’s different it’s just a totally different mindset and so it is it’s hard to find that balance i lost that balance for a while now i try to make i mean i i do my best to make it a habit to take my daughters to to you know lunch on sundays and that’s just like kind of our time to hang out um the weekends i’m getting a lot better about uh spending time with my family than you know and kind of putting this podcast to the side for a second as hard as that is yeah no i agree that’s how it should be it is you have to you really do and you feel better um you know there’s something to be said for interaction with people outside of business and right uh so kudos to that and and love singing all those pictures all these things you do with your son man i really enjoy i try to yeah yeah now one thing i find intriguing is that you speaking of your son you were born and raised and like we said until the age of 12 you were in afghanistan uh a war-torn country you escaped from and your son was born and raised in the united states so my question is do you ever remind him how good he really has it over here versus how you grew up there i do i do i always remind him i always talk to him about it and uh and and and he’s so smart that he asked questions yeah about like hey dad what’s going on here or what’s going on there uh you believe it or not like few few months ago when you know with all the stuff was going on with cabo in afghanistan yeah uh he was in the truck and we were talking you know and i i got a call from my cousin from overseas i was talking to him for a little bit and when i got off and i asked my son asked me hey you know what are y’all talking about so i kind of told him the story and um and he had tears in his eyes yeah and as he’s seven years old yeah you know and i was expecting that from him and he seemed to be very understanding and he wants to learn and he hopefully one day get to go back over there to see yeah the differences yeah so i always remind them right and you know that’s his heritage and and uh as as prideful as all of us are in our heritages it’s got to be hard and and you and i had this conversation off camera but sometimes when you’re born somewhere and you’ve always lived there and you’ve never been anywhere else and you’ve never experienced anything else you really can’t relate to what that is like but imagine yourself imagine yourself leaving the united states and going to another country because you were forced to uh you’re still going to love that country i mean that’s where you were that that is your heritage that’s where you were born and and uh and it’s not the country it’s it’s the people that are taking it over that are the problem yes and yeah and so um i sometimes get a laugh on facebook because people people who have never been anywhere else have an opinion yes i agree exactly you open casa marie and watson in 2015 and folks when you’re a business owner it’s obviously important to know how to lead people and it’s the you know it’s the name of this show local leaders and i would imagine for you the best way you led people is that you started out at the bottom of your business i mean you know at 15 years old you were a dishwasher and you pretty much did every job on the way up that ladder so for you if if i’m working for you that’s instant respect for me because i know that you’ve been there you know what it’s like to be a dishwasher right and you’re it’s a busy restaurant and people are throwing plates at you and you know it’s messy and all these sorts of things how advantageous has it been for you in running your business that you have done all of those jobs well i started you know as a dishwasher and i keep moving up in life and um and and and now that i have my meetings with my employees sometime i kind of i don’t remind them that i’ve done everything in the past but i do it still with them to nowadays you know there’s no job in a restaurant for me that i can’t do because i’m the boss right you know yeah um so i like to like i always tell my employees that the same way you know and i tell them look i’ve done it before it’s just a few hours just get it done and you know and you go home that’s i feel like a lot of people nowadays they take job as personal yes something happens they take it personal which is it’s not personal yeah you know we all have our stress days we all have our bad days yeah but it doesn’t mean you bring it to a job and you take it out on somebody else or if somebody’s busy you’re too good enough to go help them out and you go sit in the office or watch whatever you’re watching or what do and whatever yeah so i like to get involved with them in every situation or if it’s slow or if it’s busy or whatever it is i’m always with them on the floor yeah yeah it’s an important part of of leading and you know even around here uh i turn the lights on i mean i plug things in i get fussed out for it sometimes but um but that that’s also my way of showing that i’m no better than anybody else around here and i can sweep floors and believe me they remind me i’m no better but um that’s how it should be yeah i mean you know we’re all we’re all in this together right and and uh somebody drops a glass and it crashes on the on the floor at casa maria i bet you’d be the first one to grab the broom if it was close yeah you know it is and so that’s that’s leaders that’s you know to me uh i one of my biggest sayings is leaders find their broom and they’re they’re they’re never gonna ask anybody to do something they wouldn’t do yeah yeah so 100 great job on that and i think your your staff is really blessed to have somebody there that has done all those jobs you know and it’s a relation you can relate to that waiter you know just getting totally overwhelmed and hey man i’ve been there i know what it’s like to have 14 tables and and no help you know and and you just got to dig in and and do what you got to do right i agree yeah so speaking of your staff um staffs are important especially nowadays it’s hard to find them right very hard to find employees nowadays yes how how important is your staff to the success of casa maria hey when it comes to podcasting local business i want perfection and when it comes to banking i want personal service and that’s why i bank with hancock whitney hancock whitney bank not only provides me with a local business banker but also the experience and knowledge only a bank with a history of over 100 years can provide with over 230 branches in the gulf south hancock whitney can service all of your banking needs including commercial lending small and large business accounts personal bank accounts and much more for more information visit hancock whitney bank your dream their mission the success i have is because of them yeah until nowadays and i make sure we remind them constantly yes that’s why we have a team so we can all help each other out yeah like for example like my hostess walks around and pre-bus tables and does this and does that which is she should have been doing it but this is it’s like teamwork yes you know um and i feel like they they work hard you know and and there’s there’s days i’m at home and uh and i get a you know somebody tagged me on facebook that there’s a comment about my employees on in the watson community page or uh there’s this uh uh you know it’s all positive yeah and it makes me proud that uh you know i’m not even there and i get these support you know these great things from my employees sitting at home so it makes me proud uh that i have a you know i have a good crew that works for me and i feel like most of them that works for us is kind of handpicked yeah and and they kind of they have the same personality as us yeah they are workaholic most of them yeah so uh so you know so it makes my life much easier and actually i can now i can go talk to people and you know and i i don’t have to run around and do stuff because they always have each other’s back yes you know and i feel like that’s the success i get from them 100 because they do so good job you know yeah and and look it’s uh you know it’s a reflection of the work you’re doing with them and and uh when people buy in uh to what you’re doing in any business you want that buy and you want people to feel like they own it they have ownership in that yes because if the ship sinks everybody loses right so everybody’s got to kind of pull their own weight it’s similar to football everybody’s got to do their job and if everybody does their job your chances for success increase um and so in in your situation you’re kind of like the coach and you’re going out there because you’re the face of cass marie and you’re out there and you’re greeting people that are coming in uh you know people that maybe they’re hosting parties there or whatever and yeah and uh so you have to rely on those people to make sure that they’re keeping kind of that just the business operations the the bus and the tables bringing people to tables cooking the food all those sorts of things so yeah everybody have a i like that’s why i tell them i tell them you know let’s say a table of four walks and from that table of four everybody makes money from it yes a bad kitchen cook the bartender the hostesses the busboys and so as me yes you know so it’s not it’s not like a just like a you you have to be a team player in order for it to kind of work for me that’s right um i’m you know i’m i’m kind of rough with them sometimes but i’m also a joke around and we know we do crawfish bowls uh we do christmas parties for them we shut down the restaurant yeah so we do a lot to appreciate our employees yes and i feel like the reason you know because they earn it that’s right they always earn it and i barely have to basically tell them to hey go clean the mirror go do this go do that because i feel like everybody that kind of works for casa they kind of expect the same like we always have to be clean we always have to help each other out you know yeah we always we can’t curse in the restaurant that’s one of my rules so we don’t curse don’t respect anyone so it’s a different environment that we run from then other places some places i hear stories yeah right and and i’m glad you brought that up uh with the cursing because you know one thing we want to impress is cast murray is a family environment yes um it’s uh you know they have a bar like any other mexican restaurant you go to but it’s it’s more of it definitely way more of a family atmosphere than you’ll find at most places heck you won’t hear a cuss word out of the employees that’s impressive yeah we we you know i’m i’m very tough with that because my son hangs out there a lot yeah and the last thing i want him to learn curse words right you know and uh even though he does bully the employees all the time you get dollars from them yeah yeah well you know i mean it’s part of his business that’s it he’s learning early that’s all that is he’s learning early learning for the best so very good um now let’s talk about the food a little bit uh you can get a wide array of mexican uh type food from cass marine my first question is for those that may not know is it tex-mex is it uh you know traditional mexican is it a mixture of both what would you say um i i feel like this mixture of both yeah um we are very consist consistent with our food and drinks and um um we have all kind of food i mean we have mexican chili cheese dogs that sounds lovely so we have things that most people kind of don’t have yeah most people probably don’t even try to get it down so we do have we have you know tacos hamburgers quesadillas yeah burritos all the staples yeah uh what about your rices you’ve got we got the mexican rice yeah let’s just love it somebody asked me yesterday hey man can you give me the recipe for this because i like i can never go anywhere else to get this rice yeah yeah refried beans all that kind of love all that stuff what about if if uh if somebody maybe and i know it sounds weird but you know sometimes people pick restaurants and one person’s in the mood for one thing another person to move for another they end up at a mexican restaurant do you have like steaks or anything like that yes okay we do have ribeyes we have hamburgers yeah um uh what else we have i mean we have like you know a salad sandwich with a steak sandwich yeah chicken sandwich so you’re not locked into oh yeah you know enchiladas yeah you can get you can get uh uh steaks or hamburgers or whatever if if if it’s date night and one of the one of the two people you know the the woman always wins so if the man’s not in the mood for mexican that night he can have a steak no problem or vice versa like i tell people all the time we have a kitchen yes you can create your own dish and we can make it happen what’s kind of your top selling food there your top selling couple of foods um so guys so our fajitas our best seller yeah um they’re good i’ve had them yeah they’re good i eat it once a week it’s very good on our baja tacos is unbelievable like really shrimp and fish tacos who haven’t had that um they are like one i think when it comes to tacos they are like our number one seller tacos and you believe it or not we probably sell four to five thousand tacos probably a week on baja tacos no kidding yeah vape wow very popular baja taco so um and one cool thing that we’re gonna do with this episode is i’m gonna make uh like we just talked about baja tacos i’m gonna have it pop up a picture of that as we’re talking so people can they can get their mouth watering yeah there’s no doubt we’re gonna put the spanish right mexican rice up there and everything uh but another thing you’re known for outside of the food and let me tell you the food is amazing i want to impress the food is amazing the service is amazing uh the atmosphere family atmosphere very amazing as well but you’re also known for something else and that’s your margaritas yes yes indeed yeah i love your margaritas um now you all for frozen and on the rocks yes frozen and on the rocks we have fruity margaritas we have top shelf all kind of topshop margaritas

seem to a lot of people like the regular moritas yeah we we go through a lot really on weekly daily monthly yearly you name it got a lot of drink margarita drinkers in town yeah especially when there’s a ball game going on there’s a lot of gallons people yeah buy a lot of gallons more weirdos yeah and and uh so what’s your favorite margarita what do you like i like on the rocks tops of margaritas there you go there you go so that’s a fame original so next time you go try that out that’s that’s his favorite sporting events have all the football games we have we have 16 plasma tvs in the restaurant wow okay so every angle you can see there’s a tv hanging yeah um and we have all the games all the baseball games um you know soccer games anything you can imagine we have it on horse racing very good we have everything awesome so there you go folks uh sport next sporting event they’re gonna have it on at uh at casa maria and you can go check that out have some great food and and all of that good stuff now let’s talk uh 2020 just real quick and you’re rocking along since 2015 you’re building a business it’s you know it’s hidden people are there of course there was a flood in between that and i don’t know did y’all flood or yes we did oh you did well i don’t want to skip over that how wow tell me about that so that was our uh that we’ve been in the business probably like i would say eight eight months nine months yeah would that happen so um you know first of all we all in that point we all live in baton rouge and we just we couldn’t get to watson no the only way we could get the only way we could talk to someone in watson’s are from our employees they’re like hey can you go check the store yeah because we couldn’t get anywhere around denham watson central you know if you if you’re here you’re stuck here yeah you know and um it took probably good two days or a day and a half for us to come out here and check out the store yeah but we did have like probably five inch of water in our store yeah so it wasn’t much um it was enough to mess everything up yeah right it was but our floors thank god it didn’t get busted yeah you have tiles floor and everything everything that we have is four inches up from the ground yeah so it didn’t get too like most of the equipment they get messed up but some of them most of the walls got messed up so we have to re-change the wall the doors uh things like that but we were shut down for a week to to kind of get up and you know and and uh up and going yeah yeah yeah but in the meantime we had a lot of food that was going to go bad yeah so we actually worked so we so all employees a lot they all came in to work so where we did that during that time we made 600 plates with our food that was going to go bad yeah and we drove around town from each neighborhood to each neighborhood and we dropped it off the all houses man that’s awesome dude so uh that’s how that’s what we did 2016 in the flood and and let me tell you you know and that’s an awesome thing and we’re going to get into some of the community things that you do do because you’re very community minded um but let me tell you the the impact of something like that from somebody who was on the other end of it so i had like six feet of water in my house didn’t have a freaking thing left uh like everybody else you know around me um probably the the closest thing to what you just described and to tell you the impact of that one day uh this might have been four or five days after the flood when i was finally able to actually go down my street and go to my house the water receded and we’re seeing you know everything’s gone and uh you know one of the thoughts because i had three kids and a wife uh was toilet paper i didn’t have any toilet paper all the all the stores were flooded around me there was nothing open um and i’m like you know i can always take care of that i’ll find a leaf no problem this is kind of a weird conversation to have here but it but there’s a point to it um so during that entire deal see we even got background music going on while i’m telling the story during that uh entire ordeal i saw a truck coming down the street and it’s so crazy man because i just had that thought and it was a beat-up truck kind of looked like a construction guy and he pulls up and there’s a guy in the back of the truck and he says hey man you need some toilet paper swear to you true story and i said yes and he pulls out two of these big 24 pack rolls of toilet paper and hands it to me and fame it was like he was handing me a million dollars because i didn’t have toilet paper i didn’t have anything but toilet paper was a concern because i got kids and i got girls daughters and you know it’s just different when you have daughters and and um and so the impact of what you did you probably will never realize that guy probably doesn’t realize you know he literally brought tears to my eyes by doing that but um i realized it and those people you may have brought food to people that had no food you know what i mean i mean that’s a huge thing so i just wanted to get kind of side bar on that and you know obviously thank you for doing that and and uh and and wanted to hammer down the importance of people like you that did those things that was huge in that time so uh but you did you made it through that flood you keep rocking and rolling and then 20 20 hits uh you know restaurants were probably the hardest yet of restaurants gyms and hairdressers i always tell people we’re we’re absolutely just decimated in early 2020 when we all really thought kova was going to kill us you know in those first few days and you’re like i can’t breathe on anybody and um what were your thoughts i mean i could not imagine being a restaurant owner in 2020 hitting and you’re like wait a minute i can’t i can’t open i can’t you’re gonna you’re telling me i can’t operate you know what were your thoughts during that time and how did you get through it that’s kind of rough subject yeah oh i’m sure so whenever covet hit i remember watching news every day you know every day business gets slower and slower you know and then one day the governor comes out and it says all right starting tomorrow nothing’s going to be open yeah not to go orders only and so on and so on so i remember that was on a monday night when that happened yeah tuesdays was our first day to close down yeah and i walk into a restaurant and all my employees kind of got around they’re like so what’s gonna happen yeah and i and i i sat at the bar i got a drink and i told them guys i don’t know yeah i don’t know i’ve never been in the situation you know right i made two calls i might you know i called to my business partner and i asked him what do you think you know and and and now and he’s been on my life basically all my life yes helped me go through a lot of the life and become who i am now yes and he said for him i i don’t know i don’t know what to tell you he said this is one of those things that i have no idea what’s going to happen tomorrow yeah you know it was just kind of like i mean you couldn’t even ask for help because none of us been through this no but we don’t know how things gonna go tomorrow so what we did we just flip our chairs through the restaurant we push everything in the bank and the next morning we opened to do two goals yeah it was um it was painful because it was one of our busiest day taco tuesday oh and we said like probably four thousand tacos yeah in one day and taco tuesday rolls in the next day and we barely have 400 sales all day yeah oh lord so we were just kind of like we didn’t know what was gonna happen because i did not think i was gonna survive yeah to be honest with you you know that was a tough time it was very tough it was it was very emotional because like you know you go from a pack restaurant you know people partying people hanging out drinking having a good time telling jokes to like a ghost place yeah you know yeah just like one bartender two cooks and that’s it yeah i mean you know yeah it was kind of rough situation to put up with for all those times that we get to go and you’re you’re a people person so for you you need you know i’m the same way and i need people around me that’s my fuel in life is is uh and so to take that away and you just don’t have that yeah it’s been your life since you were 15 and all of a sudden nobody can even come through the door yeah that was crazy yeah i think it was that was one of my toughest time that i had to deal with myself how to how to kind of like not be depressed yes because depression would get you and uh you know and stress yeah because you didn’t know what was going to happen tomorrow yeah it’ll kill you yeah yeah i mean you couldn’t do nothing you can’t go outside you can’t you know you can’t do nothing you could basically stay the house yeah all good cars i wanted other and you know i feel like both of those things were depressing for me yeah and i was i was very depressed and one i think this was one of my most depressing time in my life that i had to go through yeah and of course you made it through that you came out of it and uh you’re thriving over there at casa maria again so aside from the amazing food the drinks the the family atmosphere you’re also known for another thing uh fame and that is your parties that you have over your partes at casa maria and uh one of those in particular is uh i’m gonna tell you two i really enjoy and all of them are great but your cinco and your halloween uh parties or off the chain as the kids say um you really do a great job with those um let me ask you that’s something that that to me separates you not a lot of uh of of restaurants in particular you know they do their little cinco de mayo things but not to your level you take it to a whole other level uh and i’m talking live bands and and ain’t no shabby bands either these are legit bands um how how did that idea come into fruition to where you were like man i’m gonna throw a big cinco de ma i’m not talking you know 10 off your ticket or anything i’m going to throw a party over here how did that come about well when i was when i opened casa i was 24 years old yeah and i’m like 24. wow yeah that’s when i opened and you know when you’re young you have that hard hate you know you i won’t say you want to be better than anybody else but you want to do better absolutely competitive yeah exactly you want to compete and you want to do this so before we came to town you know my competition did all these big parties and so on and so on yeah and um and i remember my first cinco de mayo party we had a small band which is we shut down at 10 o’clock yeah which is normally time that’s why we shut down the restaurant yeah but we were out of there by 11 and then me and my business partner we drove by my competition yeah and they were partying they had bands playing and this and that and i look at him and i say all right we have to do our homework yeah you know and he was like well it’s our first year we don’t know anything we don’t know anyone we want to make sure we could make friendship and so on and so on and then we keep on so we were like okay sure so we went and party you know we want party places and the next morning i woke up hangover but you know but it was a competition was going on between me and the competition that you know still is yes and they say a few words to me that i didn’t like before they come before the cinco de mayo event so i had to i had to get up i had to actually compete you know yeah yeah so the next morning i got up and i went to google and i booked i don’t know anything about banes and i don’t you know i’m not a country singer and you know i wasn’t in country music back then you know and i was just new to all this yeah so i typed the best local bands and so on and so on and so on popped out and i kind of watched their videos and i kind of thought okay maybe this was gonna be good for me this is good so i made them call the next morning yeah and i booked these guys first cinco a year from there wow like dude so early and i say well you know i have to have a plan yeah make a plan to get get where i’m at yes and then so cinco rolls around and none of my business partner know this i’m i’m doing this party you know except one yeah yeah and um and um and you know three months before cinco everything kind of goes rolls in and we have bag of donuts and chase tyler bain that’s my first party probably five years ago yes um and we you know i advertised it and i had i had a whole year to figure out how a restaurant is not too big you know and or having these bands i have to have something big outside and automate to do a big party sure so it was just like all these great people that kind of give me id and work along next to me and you know and taught me how to do this taught me how to do this and get upstage and did this so they work with me and cinco rolls around my first cinco and we had over 7 000 people there y’all hear that 7 thousand i think you won that battle yeah thank you so that’s how everything’s thousand people think it was sad it was it was unbelievable i remember calling my business partner because we didn’t think that turnout was gonna be that big yeah i didn’t personally think it was going to be that big you know and so as my business owners then they didn’t think that was going to be that big until the week of the week off our phone was not stopping yeah what time the party started what time and then like i called my business model i remember and i said hey man i think this is way getting way too big and you say you say you’re the one wanting to buy a boat and now you got to go fishing that’s right look best advice you could ever get that’s it you want a boat you’re gonna go fishing you gotta go fishing so you say it so he said just go for it do it do your best and see it how that happened but you know we had bouncers we we had the whole nine yards just in case it get that big sure and um and the party was i think in my opinion you know like we hit the target yeah yeah i would say so it was uh it was perfect it was well planned um everything that we did to to you know to keep trouble out or uh to have not not not have any fights to not have any argument between people it was a perfect it was a perfect you know with 7 000 people we don’t have to arrest not even one person that’s unbelievable you know and the next morning when i got up i probably had 75 missed calls and text messages telling me congratulations you did it congratulations so he was one of those big things for me that uh you know though i feel like that was the only time that i had to kind of work crazy hard to get that goal and you know and then now i work hard of course every day but it’s kind of it builds up over the years yeah and it gets easier and better easier you know it takes a life of its own because people tell people at that point and and all of a sudden you got 7 000 sales reps running around for you saying go to casa maria for cinco trust me you know those sorts of things and and uh yeah every year it just you know it’s a great event um and you mentioned those two bands you had that first time and uh i bet they were happy they were like man we want to do this every year this is phenomenal i remember i remember bag of donuts played and they were leaving yeah and then chase was coming on stage next but chase had two hour break and you know he was playing music so he was having a good time yeah and he called me in the stage before he get on you know like i think 10 minutes before he shows about start he called me a stage and he said hey fame i want you to come see this you know and we both got up on the stage and he looked at me and said i’mma tell you one thing he said you’ve done this i didn’t do nothing yeah i’m just a band i just came here to play yeah and he said all these people they all here because of you yeah and he said i just want you to know that you done a great job all right you know and and you know and i remember him telling me this is one of the biggest crowd that he’s about to play front of in his hometown wow that’s amazing man and uh and and you believe it or not we both had tears in our eyes yeah i can only imagine it was so hard work that it paid off over the years yes and um and and i you know and i i was i was very emotional yeah i was very emotional yeah he gave me a hug and he said now get out of my stage yeah i got a job you’re not the star i love it i love it and you know it’s 100 true and and that’s that’s our another lesson for today that these people can take away is hard work does pay off yes and uh when you set goals and you refuse to lose you’re typically going to achieve that goal and what i mean by refuse to lose is you do everything you can do to make it happen everything you can do let me tell you if i have a goal um sleep is not going to be the reason that i didn’t hit that goal yeah thank you i mean because i i can control you know you can anything i can control i’m going to make it happen and and i love that and and another thing that we share but uh he’s absolutely right you earned it and speaking of cinco de mayo it’s right around the corner yes that is man i can’t wait for it and this year you have a party uh to be just i mean i don’t know who your competition is out there you’re talking about but they better worry because you’ve got chase tyler uh molly ringwalds and uh county line parish county line coming to coming to uh casa maria yes yeah and we are we are very excited um we expect a lot of people yeah we kind of changed the name to cinco watson fest cinco watson fest yes so i love three years community yeah yeah so we try it just is getting bigger and bigger and we try to get people involved to you know sponsorship and this and that so we have a lot of great um sponsorships you know companies that has been helping us out and yeah um so it’s gonna be a great party this year and we can’t wait really is and and one thing i’ll say and uh that i was really impressed with and i want to take some time and talk about this is totally safe at these events and what i mean by that is one thing i notice at your events that you have outside like this these big parties is there’s a lot of uh sheriff’s deputies there police officers um and you’re kind of doing two things one you’re giving these guys some work right you’re giving them uh you’re you’re paying them to be there and you know provide security and uh and these guys need that they so you’re providing them a community service but you’re also making it ultra safe for us not once have i ever been to any of your events and they packed the house y’all packed a house um not once have i been to any and felt anything other than totally comfortable oh yeah and i love that you know because i’m there to have fun i’m too old to fight yeah you know what i mean there was a time for you back back in the 90s but uh but i’m there to have a good time eat listen to some great music and uh and be amongst friends and that’s what you’re gonna get man that’s what you’re gonna get you usually get a lot of locals a lot of um like basically the whole town of watson and denim comes out yeah yeah love it now let me ask you let me give you a scenario let’s say i called you and and i said hey i’ve got a uh birthday party for a friend of mine and there’s going to be 20 of us uh number one do you accommodate like uh reservations for big groups like that for parties yes uh we do uh we take reservation almost every day except fridays and uh and tuesdays gotcha so there you go do you have private rooms or these open rooms did you just open rooms but we also have a patio if you have like 60 or 70 people more we let you have the whole patio well there you go 60 or 70 people you they got room for you there so hey company parties right uh company events they can accommodate you at uh casa maria no problem in watson so uh so give them a call out there for that and uh i do want to say fahim and kind of get your opinion on this now i think the restaurant business is probably the toughest business relative to just stress it has a very high failure rate and and i’m not quite sure why that is uh obviously there’s a lot of restaurants out there that you’re competing with constantly um and stress just kind of comes along with it the hours i think contribute to the stress a lot it’s not like a nine to five right i mean you’re open when everybody else is closed yes um and then when you close you’ve got several hours of cleaning to do uh for the next day so um how how do you deal with that stress how have you managed to kind of deal with that and and be successful um restaurant industry is always success even though you have one of the best crew yes you know best employee the best clean restaurant every day when you wake up you’re going to have a text message that hey we don’t have this so we don’t have that yeah people forget about that but you got to order this stuff yeah and it’s a guessing game sometimes yeah it is yeah it is but overall man um in my opinion i feel like it’s it has a lot of stress restaurant industry is not for everyone yeah you know i have to say that if if if you kind of lack off yeah and you keep blacking off you kind of you lose your track in the restaurant industry and it’s just gonna things piles up on you and you have more stress and you’re probably gonna give up if you’re not into it yeah but i love it that’s my dream job and and i over the year in my opinion uh i don’t take it too personally you know let’s say if i’m out of something i’m out of something i’m just gonna wait till the next morning go get it yeah uh i’m you know and people understand that um um but i try not to have a lot of stress on my plate yeah you know because you have your family you have to run that’s right you know you also have uh a restaurant of 50 and more employees that you have to run so you’re running a big uh you know a big business with a lot of people’s lives so yeah make sure everybody gets paid um everybody everybody shows up to work you know and everybody has to do their job while they’re there and you have to order everything that in the restaurant and the stream runs but you do got to realize us from a seafood restaurant it’s completely two different things yeah you know they only have a few things that they can order they have to worry about we have to order everything seafood steaks rice beans you know so on and so on and so on you name it tequilas you have that all the different 20 different tequilas yeah that’s a great point so um so um so i don’t i don’t let trust bother me just because i’ve done it for so many years and i kind of have a expectation of what i need to be doing tomorrow right and i try to stay ahead of it if not then i back up because i do make schedule every week so even if i’m a vacation or i’m not a vacation or i’m home i have to make my schedule for my 52 employees weekly yes you know so everybody everything changes you know their schedules and sometimes you know like when you order food to go boxes changes so you have to be on top everything to kind of keep the ball rolling that’s a great that’s a great point and uh you know a lot of people don’t realize that that uh when you’re when you’re you know you and and me and a lot of these business owners you also managing people and you know so you deal with a bunch of stuff with oh this person’s gossiping on me and they’re being mean and you’re dealing with all that you’ve got people that got serious personal issues maybe they’re kids sick or something like that so they have to take off now you’re juggling schedules you’re calling people in i mean there’s a lot to run in any type of business where you have employees but especially one with a large staff like what you have it at casa maria and you do a great job with it i want to read your leader statement so when in your questionnaire i asked you uh you know basically how would you define a leader and i thought what you wrote was fantastic so i want to read it for verbatim you said to be understanding and involved in your life your business and the people around you you’re always working hard to be better love that and a leader shows up all the time be understanding and involved you are always you you always are working hard to be better and a leader shows up 100 man i can’t i can’t even add to that thing i agree with that 100 and uh and really that to me is is the key you know just because someone’s a leader doesn’t mean that they don’t you know work hard to be better every day and that’s what i do when i wake up every day i just want to be better than i was the day before in my personal life in my business life because none of us are perfect all of us make mistakes uh the important thing is to learn from them and not continue to repeat them and and so i agree with your leader you are absolutely a leader and uh and i appreciate you going believe it or not we’ve been going 57 minutes thing 57 minutes and uh i know it seemed like five because we’re having so much fun around here talking about your business but uh yeah almost an hour in but did you have fun yes i had a great time very good man that’s very good we we love what you’re doing uh with casa maria mexican grill and watson and uh i’m gonna i’m gonna promote some things with obviously your senko coming up and and uh i’ll be there with bells on and and marguerite in hand so uh excited about that i do want to thank all of you out there for listening uh to local leaders of podcast and uh fahim if they want to find you online i know you have a facebook page which is very active you post a lot of your foods on there and and things like that where can they find that just uh search uh yeah casa maria watson on facebook and also if you google customer watson or mini page app and uh our money pops up and also um it tells you what facebook and yeah you can order through waiter through doordash very good call the restaurant as well fantastic so and i’ll link all of i’ll link his website his facebook and all that sort of stuff to the description of this video so people can just go down there click it and go right to uh your page give him a like on facebook under uh his casamaria page you’ll really enjoy the stuff they post there they take some great pics and if anything else you’ll be hungry every time you go to facebook because you’re going to see some good food there’s no doubt about that so i want to thank all my sponsors as well for supporting this show i could not do any of this without all of these people and their support i really do mean that and until next time i am jim chapman reminding you love your community support local business just like casa maria mexican grill and watson and keep leaving thank you very much for coming on thank you so much

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