Former Top Chef contestant Hezron Louw still has people eating out of the palm of his hand, despite his early exit from the TV cooking competition last year.
In 2013 Louw and his business partner Andrew Leeuw launched Sumting Fresh, a gourmet street food business.
Louw was recently announced as a finalist in the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the Year competition. The winner will be announced on Thursday.
Below the zany chef shares with TMTV some of the business lessons he has gained over the past four years.
Hard work is always rewarded
Every day, every hour, is dedicated to Sumting Fresh and over the years we have dedicated every moment to making this business work.
Choose your target markets well
Not everyone is your customer. We have had situations when we lowered our standards to suit a customer's budget, and this cost us reputation. We don't do that anymore.
Innovation is key
We started of with a normal restaurant menu but when we decided to change and try a new style of food, our business grew like wildfire.
Someone is always watching
Every plate of food we put out has to be on point. The first thing we ever sold was a cup of coffee with salt, instead of sugar. Luckily, the customer told us, and ever since then we have ensured that we always do our best to do the right thing at all times. (The customer was a coffee judge)
Never give in, never give up
During the first two years of starting Sumting Fresh, we failed as a business. If we had given up during that time, we would not have achieved the success we have today.
Surround yourself with the right people and partners
Having the right staff is important. It can cost you your reputation if you have the wrong people and thus cost your business. Think win-win and any negotiation can go your way. Action always takes you where you need to get to.
-Hezron Louw is one of five finalists in the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the Year competition. The Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs programme was launched in 2005 to support emerging businesses in the tourism sector. The programme includes by an annual competition. This year 200 budding entrepreneurs were eligible to enter.
The other finalists are:
Fhumulani Nemukula, Ronem Maintenance Solutions, Mpumalanga
Number of employees: 3 full-time, 21 casual
Services: Building, Contractor, Maintenance
Noli Mini, Relax Spas, Western Cape
Number of employees: 10 full-time, 3 interns
Service: Health, Wellness, Beauty
Devina Dawkinun, Gemkids, KwaZulu-Natal
Number of employees: 4 full-time, 7 casual
Service: Education, Early Childhood Development
Nicole Msibi, Before Time Indlondlo Events, Gauteng
Number of employees: 8 full-time, 4 casual
Service: Décor Hire and Catering