nava singam, most admired leaders

Congratulations to the 2023 Most Admired Leaders by the
Phoenix Business Journal! With great pride we are excited to share that our Owner & CEO, Nava Singam, was selected this year and we are very grateful to the committee for recognizing him as the incredible leader he is. We also want to congratulate Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Sybil Francis, President & CEO at Center for the Future of Arizona!

What would others describe as your greatest strength as a leader?
I feel they would say my passion for serving others—serving our guests an elevated experience, serving our team the support they need to be successful in their work life and personal life, and serving our community by giving back and participating in their efforts.

What has been the most challenging aspect of your career and how did you address it?
By far, the most challenging part of my career in this industry is probably similar to all other hospitality owners and executives and is when the pandemic caused havoc in our industry. In the early stages of the pandemic my business took a 75% sales drop. I had to figure out how to keep cash flow and take care of our employees. We pivoted really quickly and changed our model to accommodate the environment that we were in and retained our employees throughout the challenging time. In fact, during the pandemic we opened two additional new restaurants that we had committed to doing. We also supported our community, and in return with support from our employees, vendors, franchisors, licensors, airport partners and bankers, we bounced back, stayed the course and continue to operate into today.

Work-life balance is important. How do you spend your time recharging?
Work-life balance is critical for everyone, and I tend to re-charge best when I am able to get away with my lovely wife Leticia of 27 years on a vacation, or spend family time outdoors with my daughters Aryanna and Mya.

If you could ask any notable person (past or present) one question, who would it be and what would you ask?
I would like to meet Elon Musk and ask him his vision of technology into the restaurant industry beyond self ordering and artificial intelligence in the kitchen.

Best piece of advice you didn’t take.
To buy real estate between 2010 and 2015. I was being ultra conservative and stayed away from the real estate market. To see what it is today has me thinking that was the best advice I ignored.