Twin BBA alumni leverage family entrepreneurial geneAug 25, 2015
Beedie School of Business alumni Haley and Maney Grewal share more than just their looks. The twin brothers also share a passion for entrepreneurial endeavours – one that was nurtured in the Beedie BBA program.
The latest in their joint entrepreneurial ventures saw the opening of Vancouver’s first franchise location of Big Smoke Burger, a burger chain specializing in creative burgers, hand-cut fries, and homemade sauces.
Big Smoke Burger Vancouver’s opening captured attention from burger-fanatics and foodies all around with an enticing promotion of free burgers, fries, and drinks. On opening day, lineups started forming as early as 9:30 am and continued to grow as lunchtime approached.
The man behind the successful launch is Haley Grewal, franchise owner of Vancouver’s first medium-well burger venture. The launch was modeled after Big Smoke Burger’s original opening in Toronto, which also received tremendous success and brand recognition from now loyal customers across Canada.
“The first step is to build the first store and then grow from there,” said Haley. “What better way to introduce our burger than to get you trying it for free?”
The next step is to open a Burnaby location at Simon Fraser University, with details on the launch to come after renovations are finished. As a proud alumnus, Haley is looking forward to giving back to the Beedie and SFU community. His twin brother Maney has also played an active role as an engaged alumnus, especially in redesigning a new coaching strategy for JDC West.
Currently, Haley and Maney have the franchise rights to all of BC and plan to expand Big Smoke Burger into the US or Asia in the future. This, however, is not the only venture on the plates for these entrepreneurial twins.
Together, the Grewal brothers have investments spanning from the food industry in Vancouver to the real estate development industry in Dallas and Seattle. They are also looking into investing in Vancouver and Surrey businesses in the beverage industry and the insurance industry, all which source local employees or materials. Although Haley and Maney focus on different industries, they act as each other’s second pair of eyes, and give external assessments for projects they are individually involved in.
“Maney and I attended Beedie together, and one thing we definitely appreciated about the experience is all the talented students that went through our undergrad experience with us,” said Haley. “At Beedie, you’re always trying to prove yourself and that’s always rubbed off on the students. Never take anything for granted and always push for another level to achieve more than you think you can achieve – and when you get there, keep pushing yourself.”
Haley and Maney’s entrepreneurial spirit was also fostered by family influence, especially from their father, who started a prosperous business in Northern Chile in 1999 after coming to Vancouver.
“One thing school can’t teach you is to make the call,” said Haley. “Eventually, you have to make business decisions, and so growing up in an entrepreneurial family environment gave my brother and I the willpower to push that risk button. The ability and tools to act on it came from Beedie.”
Haley advises upcoming entrepreneurs to be willing to sacrifice time, especially in the beginning. “If somebody else is not pulling his or her weight, you have to be willing to accept any role. To define yourself as the CEO is completely pointless. You’re not a CEO – you are every employee in the organization. You just have to be prepared for the grind in the long haul.”