Chinatown business owner inspires students to look ‘Beyond the Horizon’

Restrauteur Dusty Grable teaches success through five W's

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Photo by Aaron Veincent

Dusty Grable gives a presentation on how to shape a community through the vision of hospitality at the Center for Tomorrow's Leaders, Tuesday. Grable is the founder of several restaurants in Chinatown.

Businessman Dusty Grable presented “Shaping a Community Through the Vision of Hospitality,” Tuesday, at the Emerge student leadership conference at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center, and several Kamehameha Maui student government officers were in attendance. The theme was “Beyond the Horizon.”

Grable is the founder of several businesses in Chinatown including, Lucky Belly, Livestock Tavern, and a bar named Tchin Tchin!

After graduating from Kamehameha Schools Kapālama, Grable went to college. During the time he was enrolled, he took up jobs in restaurants to pay off loans. He said that it was “a means to an end.”

While working, his passion for the hospitality industry increased, so he left college to pursue business ownership even though he was only four credits away from graduation.

Grable took the opportunity to start a food company, the Breaking Bread Hospitality Group, with his partner Jesse Cruz.

The two’s strong beliefs of basing their work ethic around culture clicked and started something that they’d never expected to turn out so big.

Beginning small, their partnership quickly grew to three companies. At the conference, Gable told the high school students about what led him and Cruz to the success they have today.

The presentation revolved around the five w’s — who, what, when, where, and why — as well as a “how” in conclusion.

The room quickly filled up with students. Some stand in the back, while others sat taking notes.
Photo by Aaron Veincent
The room quickly filled up with students. Some stand in the back, while others sat taking notes.

Gable started off by explaining the who.

For some it may seem like an easy answer — the who is the audience or customers — but for Grable, it wasn’t so simple. To him and Cruz, it was the family.

His family extended beyond his actual family and included his employees as well.

They made their employees a top priority, and  Grable and Cruz made sure their employees were satisfied so that customers would enjoy their assistance.

Grable then explained the what; in his case, it was opening up his restaurants.

Grable’s past experience with different types of restaurants and passion for the hospitality industry, where he worked in many different positions, inspired him to “create opportunities for other people.”

Following, Grable went into his why, one of the most important factors to consider when doing something.

His why included joy. Whether it was his own or his customers, he said that as long as someone left one of his businesses with happiness, he felt that his work had been done right.

Dusty Grable explains his why during the presentation.
Photo by Aaron Veincent
Dusty Grable explains his why during the presentation.

Grable and Cruz’s when and where was Chinatown, the location in which he opened his three stores, all 30 seconds away from one another.

Grable and Cruz had a connection to Chinatown and wanted to have their businesses there due to the area’s rich background and history, despite some violence there now.

Last, Grable explained the how. Although there are many different reasons one chooses to do something, Grable emphasized one thing in particular: a vision.

“A lot of people paved a way for us. So we’re not a first in this day and time,” he said.

He explained to the room of future leaders that in order to reach a goal and make a difference, one must have a vision, but especially to “truly have a vision with others in mind.”

The Emerge conference was organized by the Center for Tomorrowʻs Leaders and McKinley High School. Attendees heard from “20 visionary local leaders,” according to their website. To see the list of speakers and learn more about the conference, click here.