John Nastav

Franchisee of Crescent City Beignets
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the January 2002 issue of Entrepreneurs Start-Ups magazine. Subscribe »

To New Orleans natives, a beignet is more than a square fried piece of dough coated with powdered sugar-it's culture and history. So how does this Southern favorite make it in urban Chicago?

It's the challenge John Nastav was prepared to face when he bought a Crescent City Beignets franchise in the Chicago area. When Nastav, 55, opened his doors a few months ago in Lincoln Park, he figured customers would come in and say, "You're selling beig-whats?" Instead, he discovered that Chicagoans are big beignet fans. "We're shocked," he says. "The majority of people know what they are."

Though Nastav figures these instant customers have visited New Orleans, he also markets the product to reach those who aren't in the know. His direct advertising, consisting mostly of fliers and mailers, targets the local hospital, colleges and schools. Plus, he's got a publicist on the case.

Nastav first patronized Crescent City Beignets while visiting Texas, where the franchise was born in July 1997. CEO of a construction company specializing in large plants, oil refineries and steel mills, Nastav jumped into the restaurant business without any prior experience. "It somehow struck me as something the people of Chicago would like," says Nastav, "so I thought I'd give it a whirl."

Surprisingly, the biggest obstacle in transporting the concept has been not the cultural factor, but the climate factor. At press time, Nastav expected sales, which were just below the break-even point, to boom as the city cooled down, forecasting between $500,000 and $1 million for 2001.

"We know now not to open stores unless we can get at least three months of cool weather," says Nastav. When it's hot, he explains, "people don't want to leave their house."

Contact Source

More from Entrepreneur

Terry's digital marketing expertise can help you with campaign planning, execution and optimization and best practices for content marketing.
Book Your Session

In as little as seven months, the Entrepreneur Authors program will turn your ideas and expertise into a professionally presented book.
Apply Now

Are paying too much for business insurance? Do you have critical gaps in your coverage? Trust Entrepreneur to help you find out.
Get Your Quote Now

Latest on Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.