What is life like in the restaurant and hospitality industry 9 months into the pandemic? In an update of episode 5 of the podcast, Joe is joined once again by Sam Mustafa, the founder of the Charleston Hospitality Group. Sam talks about the early darks days of the pandemic, how his restaurants adapted to the new normal, and what it means to celebrate the 16th anniversary of his flagship restaurant, Toast! All Day.
About Sam Mustafa:
An engineer by training and an entrepreneur by choice, Sam Mustafa is a hard-working businessman who is dedicated to building his restaurant group and giving back to the community of Charleston. While still an undergraduate at Southern Illinois University’s College of Engineering, Mustafa began working multiple fast-food jobs and ultimately saved up enough money to purchase his first restaurant, a tiny Carbondale Illinois eatery he named Sam’s Cafe. Few could have predicted that Sam’s Cafe would one day give rise to a multi-million dollar hospitality empire whose portfolio of brands and services include a diverse array of entertainment, fine-dining, Lowcountry BBQ and breakfast-all-day, such as their popular TOAST! All Day eatery voted “#1 Breakfast” by the New York Times.
In 2008, Sam Mustafa founded the Charleston Hospitality Group, a fast-growing company that now owns and operates 11 restaurants and bars in South Carolina’s Lowcountry. As CEO of the Charleston Hospitality Group, Sam works tirelessly to ensure that both Charleston’s visitors and residents have access to endless options for quality cuisine. It is hard to travel the streets of downtown Charleston and not see one of his award-winning restaurants.
In 2020, Sam founded the Full Belly, Full Hearts nationwide campaign initiative at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. Since April, over 10,000 hot, homemade meals have been created, packaged and delivered from Charleston Hospitality Group to frontline healthcare workers, first responders and unemployed hospitality workers and their families.