A Detroit-based businessman is looking to redefine the fundamentals of American business following the recession—and he’s starting with his quick-service concept, Jaws Jumbo Burgers.
Darryl Gaddis, owner of Noah’s Ark Business Group and Jaws Jumbo Burgers, announced that he’s making Jaws an employee-owned-and-operated concept, an idea he hopes to eventually take to gas stations, supermarkets, and factories.
“It’s time for a new idea, and I call it a cooperative corporation,” Gaddis says. “For the first time, people get a chance to own a piece of the pie. Not the stock, not dividends—they actually own it.”
Gaddis says the business model Noah’s Ark Business Group is testing with Jaws is one in which groups of people go in on a store together, paying $1,200 to join and $150 per month as dues.
The collectives use that initial money as leverage with banks and for start-up costs. Each collective then owns 30 percent of its unit and shares 30 percent of the profits; the other 70 percent is owned by Noah’s Ark.
“What happens is when you leverage that money, you begin to open those first doors,” Gaddis says. “We can open a restaurant for as little as around $75,000 in our market with used [locations] fully equipped because they’re just going out of business.”
Gaddis says the goal is to turn Jaws, which has one location open, into a nationwide concept, with the goal set at opening 500 units.
He says Noah’s Ark will then take the employee-owned-and-operated model to other industries, like gas stations, supermarkets, and food manufacturing.
“We know that if we can take that concept nationwide, other companies are going to start setting it up, once they see how the concept works,” he says.
All of Noah’s Ark’s work is in an effort to stop big-business greed and invigorate American innovation, Gaddis says.
“We’ve lost our ambition, our innovation; we don’t make anything here, we ship everything abroad,” Gaddis says. “Sooner or later, as you keep taking the water out of that river with no rainfall, it becomes a mud hole.”
And for Gaddis, introducing his business model in an industry ripe with innovators is especially significant.
“You’ve got to plant seeds somewhere,” he says. “Everyone from Ray Kroc to Dave Thomas … planted these seeds no different than what I’ve done.”
By Sam Oches