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The FORT with Chris Powers

Jun 24, 2021

Nishant has extensive restaurant and food industry experience and is currently serving as the President and CEO of Dividend Restaurant Group, parent company to Romano’s Macaroni Grill and Sullivan’s Steakhouse. Nishant was responsible for the turnaround of both restaurants and the acquisition of Sullivan’s Steakhouse.

On this episode, Nishant discusses his childhood growing up in Dubai and working at Mackinac helping distressed companies. They go through the process of what types of companies come to Mackinac, their diagnosis period, and what they look to achieve when working with companies. They also dive deep into running a restaurant during the pandemic, how to fix the labor issue in hospitality, and what pandemic-era changes will stick going forward. Finally, they wrap up talking about Nishant's venture into the Cannabis industry with his premium THC spirit company, Pamos, and the future of VC in the industry. Enjoy!

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Mackinac Partners

(01:12) - Nishant’s Background, Upbringing in Dubai, and Early Career

(04:33) - What is Mackinaw and what do y’all do?

(05:47) - What’s the process of working with distressed companies with Mackinaw? 

(07:13) - Do most companies that come to you even know what their issues are?

(07:41) - How quickly can Mackinaw determine the root issues of a client?

(09:30) - How often is it a management team problem where you need to clean house?

(10:09) - What are the reasons why companies go into distress?

(12:08) - What do capital providers do wrong that start squeezing their businesses?

(13:30) - How much forewarning are companies given that a new operator is about to come in and call all the shots?

(14:20) - Is it common for family businesses to fail after they sell to PE?

(14:56) - What happens after your 60-day diagnosis of a distressed business?

 (18:26) - Why do companies not see things as clearly as you’ve explained them?

(19:54) - Is there ever a time where you were unable to help a business?

(20:50) - How does Mackinaw make money?

(21:01) - Nishant’s Experience Building a Time-Share Business

(25:34) - Building a Sales Platform from Scratch

(30:25) - Is there a business to be had just to sell your time-share easily?

(31:56) - How did you know it was time to sell the business?

(33:35) - You Can Be Successful in Business Without Working in Your Passion

(35:55) - The Difference Between Honesty and Trust

(36:25) - Nishant’s Jump into Restaurants

(39:52) - How did you source the Macaroni Grill deal?

(45:21) -  What’s the goal for Mac Grill with growth?

(46:44) - What was your world like during the Pandemic?

(53:00) - What were the best and worst decision you made during Covid?

(54:51) - What changes will stick in the business? What’s the labor market look like to you?

(1:00:14) - What’s the private equity interest in the restaurant industry like right now?

(1:02:00) - Nishant’s Work in Cannabis

(1:04:57) - Industry Size and Cannabis Statistics

(1:07:06) - How far away are we from mainstream acceptance and federal legalization?

(1:10:53) - Nishant’s Cannabis Funding Concept 

(1:14:09) -  Nishant’s Approach to Building and Implementing Platforms

(1:15:53) - The Difference Between a System and a Process

(1:16:20) - “You can think more freely when you’ve hit financial freedom”

(1:17:04) - What’s something you see a lot of young people get wrong in their careers or early life?

(1:17:56) - What’s the best advice you’ve been given?

(1:18:46) - Is there a childhood experience that shaped who you’ve become?

(1:19:43) - Why do you read so many legal documents?

(1:21:58) - How can people find you?

The FORT is produced by Straight Up Podcasts