Charlotte chefs set up restaurant business

State employment data shows that recreation and hospitality services employed 513,800 people in the state as of April 2019. As of April 2020, that number had fallen to 262,300.

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – Two chefs in Charlotte chose to bet on their own with their own restaurant business when the COVID-19 pandemic led to layoffs at work.

Brandon and Sydney Green, owners of ITO creations, began to invest more time and energy in their business as the pandemic dragged on for months.

Brandon was the Executive Chef of the Ballantyne Country Club and Sydney was an Executive Chef of the Compass Group. Both said they were made redundant last year due to the pandemic.

The couple have been together since their days at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte.

“I just saw her, and I saw her smile,” Brandon said. “And that was it for me. I was good.”

The Greens started ITO Creations, which means ‘I’ll take one,’ before the pandemic, but they didn’t have time to grow the business until they were both unemployed.

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“It was like a little kick to us just from life itself saying, ‘Alright, now is the time to go get started,’” Brandon said. . “

The couple started their own recipe for personal success, putting all of their energy and experience into their restaurant business. They serve food for parties, prepare meals as personal chefs, and prepare meals.

“We were so caught up in the security of having a stable paycheck that we probably wouldn’t have, I wouldn’t have wanted to risk putting the family in danger like that,” Brandon added, “but now it is do or die. “

Their origins in South Carolina and West Virginia influence their “southern town” culinary outlook.

The couple are free to be creative in the kitchen like their own bosses. The curves of life during the pandemic served as a catalyst for change.

“In a strange way, we’re thankful for that, I think,” Brandon said.

Sydney added: “If that didn’t happen we wouldn’t be where we are today I don’t think.”

RELATED: North Carolina’s Restaurant Industry Faces Workforce Shortage As It Moves To Open At Full Capacity

North Carolina’s leisure and hospitality industry has been hit at the height of the pandemic.

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State employment data shows that recreation and hospitality services employed 513,800 people in the state as of April 2019. As of April 2020, that number had fallen to 262,300.

Now the industry is trying to staff itself, as capacity restrictions and social distancing are expected to be relaxed on June 1.

As for the Greens, they are advancing at full speed with the plans of their own company. They recently purchased a food trailer to develop the ITO Creations brand and created a GoFundMe page to help them take the plunge and follow their passions.

“The fact that you can do something you love with someone you love makes it even better,” Brandon said.

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