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Servers to Sandwich Guys: How Two Brothers Founded a Multi-Million Dollar Restaurant

David Adir, founder and CEO of The Carving Board

At 14, I was working as a dishwasher to make some extra spending money. Little did I know my high school job would later awaken my passion for the restaurant business. Starting off scrubbing crusted on food from restaurant dishes was not an ideal path to my career, but it helped lead me to where I am today and for that, I am thankful.

Fast forward a few years: My brother Yoav and I were living a comfortable life in Florida, working as servers at The Cheesecake Factory, when we wanted more out of the industry. It was time to make a big life decision and manufacture a change of scenery. So we packed up our car, risked everything, and headed west – all the way to The Golden State, California.

Risking it all

On the drive to the West Coast, we called our boss at The Cheesecake Factory to explore a potential transfer since we were already halfway across the country. With nowhere to stay and no location in mind, we Googled Cheesecake Factory locations and selected one that looked to be in the center of L.A. That was our new home.

Our first night there, we picked up shifts in hopes to make enough money to pay for our motel room that night. That motel would be our home for the next few weeks until we had enough to rent.

Eventually, I worked my way up to a management position, but soon decided it was time to make my big industry move. Yoav and I have always loved the restaurant industry because we subscribe to the idea that people can go out to eat, have a great experience, and have a positive impact on their day. We really wanted to give people that experience while putting our own spin on it. This is when we decided to embark on the journey of creating our own restaurant – The Carving Board.

The birth of The Carving Board

With extensive knowledge and experience in the restaurant business, we had the right foundation to start building our own concept. I was always a big sandwich guy, so choosing our food category was easy.

To start off, we began masterminding the menu by taking our favorite foods and meals and putting them in between bread. Our first creation was the turkey dinner, my favorite sandwich to make after thanksgiving.  I had seen it other places but each one was missing something, no one made it right. The next sandwich developed was the Bentley, another favorite of mine, which includes a bacon wrapped filet mignon. Later, we developed the idea for one of our most famous creations, the Spaghetti and Meatballwhich; a classic twist on spaghetti and meatballs where the spaghetti noodles serve as the bread.

Our first location opened May 2012 as a 1400-square-foot rental that turned into The Carving Board's first home. The start was surely rocky as we were wearing many hats – I was the cook, Yoav was the cashier, and we had to hire a dishwasher. Within the first few days, we were servicing a few hundred people each shift. This forced us to immediately hire another five employees to keep up with the incredible demand. By Christmas of that year, we had nine employees and high hopes of what this concept would become.

Today I am incredibly proud to have grown beyond that 1400-square-foot space, now having four operating locations, as well as several in development. The lessons learned from working our way up from the bottom of the restaurant industry were invaluable as we grew into the role of restaurant owners. We are now ready for the next challenge as we enter the franchise industry and grow our passionate family business to communities nationwide.   

About the author: David Adir is the founder and CEO of The Carving Board, a multi-location, California-based sandwich shop.

Image Credit: The Carving Board