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Founder of Chicago Vietnamese chain Saigon Sisters talks growing pains

The life of an emerging restaurateur has its ups and downs, as restaurateur Mary Aregoni can attest


Restaurateurs are usually quick to point out that they didn’t get into the business because they wanted to make a quick buck. No, the vast majority of restaurant founders get into the game because of their passion for the business and the chance to make their dream a reality.

Such was the case for Mary Aregoni, who founded Saigon Sisters in Chicago in 2009 with her sister Theresa Nguyen. Aregoni and Nguyen wanted to take the Vietnamese flavors of their youth to the masses, doing for that cuisine what Panda Express has done for Chinese food. 

Saigon Sisters today has three locations in Chicago, and Aregoni has dealt with challenge after challenge in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, she’s finding ways to plow through and make Saigon Sisters more efficient as she keeps the dream alive of scaling the brand nationally.

Are you an emerging restaurateur looking for insights on how to grow your business? Get exclusive access to our upcoming Emerging Restaurateur Live Learning Series.

Aregoni joined the latest episode of Take-Away with Sam Oches to discuss the roller-coaster that is getting a restaurant business off the ground, how she’s finding ways to become more efficient in her business model, and what she thinks is the key to scaling a restaurant business. 

In this conversation, you’ll find out why:

  • No matter your need, you should constantly fill your labor pipeline
  • In this challenging labor climate, consider how you can outsource some work
  • Emerging operators today need better, faster and cheaper tools to run their businesses more efficiently — which is a great opportunity for tech companies 
  • If you want to scale your business, you need to figure out how to have more output with less work

Contact Sam Oches at [email protected].

TAGS: Fast Casual
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