How top chef judge Tiffany Derry is changing the restaurant industry

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Derry opened its second restaurant, Roots Southern Table, during the pandemic, and as with many restaurants – new and old – there were challenges. It was mid-June 2021, but as Derry told us, people were clamoring to dine again then, and Southern Table was an instant hit. At the time, Derry remembered never seeing a black woman running a business growing up and wanted to change that chronic lack of representation by developing a model that supported entrepreneurship within the black community. “How do we close that gap? Why don’t people have more? There’s a lot of talent. Talent doesn’t come in a specific race.”

Derry and his business partner Tom Foley planned how Roots Chicken Shak could provide franchise opportunities to aspiring black entrepreneurs who had great work ethics but were denied financing due to poor credit. They decided to do the initial work, find funding sources and find the banks that would work with talented black men and women to help them start a business. “I wanted to create more of…a concept that we could develop, where we could have a whole bunch of [locations].” Derry and Foley opened a second Roots Chicken Shak, but before they could put their long-term plan into action, they had to make sure the second restaurant was as successful as the first. People can’t have that. enough of Derry’s duck fat-fried chicken, and so, a third Chicken Shak is on the horizon, and it will be their first franchise opportunity.

To find out more about Roots Chicken Shak and Roots Southern Table, visit the official Derry Restaurant Group website. You can also follow the chef on Instagram.

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