Radio Host/Entrepreneur Marcus Davis Mixes Business With Family

News & Views | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 11/28/2013 | 10:00 AM EST

Davis makes restaurant a family affair

Marcus Davis wears many hats. He’s the host of his own weekly Sunday morning radio show for Radio One‘s KMJQ 102 FM in Houston, motivational speaker and an accomplished entrepreneur as the owner of the nationally award-winning restaurant, the breakfast klub. But if you were to ask him which role he’s most proud of, he’d tell you it’s being a family man. The husband and proud father of three says he not only incorporates his family into his business decisions - like closing his restaurant early to have more quality time - but he’s even made it a family business. The community leader chatted with Centric about the uniqueness behind his business model and how he balances his family and his career. How long have you been in radio, and what kind of topics does your show, Sunday Morning Live, address?

Marcus Davis: I’ve been in radio for about 8 years. You name it, we talk about it. I believe that people should be engaged, and I think people should be engaged in things that are significant and impactful on their lives. We talk about everything from what’s happening with the local school board, national issues, healthcare and politics. Recently we talked about ways to reclaim the youth in our community; how do we get from it takes a village to raise a child to those children growing up, walking down the street knocking people out. It’s all about engagement and accountability. Part of why I’m there is because I’m a business owner and leader in the community. I see the need for empowering my community. Building engagement is my foundation.

When you did you decide to open your own restaurant and what motivated you to do so?

I started the restaurant in 2001. We’ve been going ever since. I am a foodie and entrepreneur by nature. It’s part of my upbringing. I’m not a chef. I’m an operator/restaurateur. I’ve been working in restaurants since I was 15 years old and worked my way up the ranks. I became very familiar with food and flavors through my father, who was not a trained chef but could cook with the best of them. My dad was a big food guy who was heavily into cooking and flavors, and the entertainment. He invited people over for dinner all the time. It was contagious.

Would you consider your restaurant as soul food?

We’re essentially not a soul food restaurant. First and foremost we are a breakfast restaurant. We do breakfast and we do breakfast well. One of the reasons we opened the business is because there was a void in the marketplace at a local and national level for what we’re doing. If we have to be classified in that, I would would call us a neo-soul restaurant. We’re not your old soul restaurant. We’re new style. We’re the Anthony David and Jill Scott of the day (laughs).

Is it true your restaurant, The Breakfast Klub, doesn’t stay open late so that you can spend quality time with your family?

There are a couple of reasons why [we close early]. We’re open at 7 a.m. and close at 2 p.m. The theory behind closing early is because I know the hours you have to put in to make it successful. I’m aware that small, independent shops have less of an opportunity to be successful because of the demand of the hours and the capital or resources it takes. Also, I didn’t want to be at a restaurant working 18 hours a day. I wanted to be able to go to work, be successful and get home to my family where I can spend some quality time. It makes sure that I can pick up the kids from school, take them to soccer practice, gymnastics, martial arts...that’s where the real work starts. That’s the thinking behind it. You have the rest of the day to strengthen yourself for tomorrow and to strengthen your family at the same time.

How does your family contribute to the success of your career and business?

I think being a family man contributes to my career because I believe it makes me a better person. It makes me whole, and I think me being whole makes my family whole. It gives me the opportunity to be more successful as a result. My wife and I work together in the business. We spend time at the office together, we see each other for hours throughout the day. That’s been a significant part of our relationship.

My son is homeschooled and goes to work with me throughout the week. He gets an opportunity to hang with me and see what I do and how I do what I do. He gets to work in the store. He professes he wants to do what I do, so he has the opportunity. He’s only 9 going on 10 years old but he’s expressed that interest, so I fuel that passion, which I think is the responsibility of parents.

How does it feel to have your son admire you and want to do what you do?

It’s weighty. It puts the pressure on, but it’s also emotional because it means that you’ve done something that they found worthy.

What’s some advice you would give families who are struggling to balance or fulfill their work and home lives?

Find it. It’s that simple. It’s not an option, it’s a must. I believe that spending quality time with my children and the family is a must. One of the best pieces of advice that I got is that we work in a capitalist and materialistic society where we’re all about getting and getting. We fool ourselves or try to convince ourselves that we’re doing it for the children as well. I made the conscious decision that there’s nothing monetarily or materially that I can give my children that will outweigh the amount of time and spiritual, intellectual and emotional investments that I can provide. If I provide for their souls, their spirits and their bodies, they should be able to be as successful as they choose to be in life.

(Photo: Courtesy of Ovation Speakers and Talent)

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