Originally a Korean immigrant, Young Lee, Founder and CEO of The Flame Broiler, had an epiphany of eating healthy. His intuitive perception that productivity depends on what you eat was a revelatory moment. Suddenly, all those pieces tied together in one moment of inspiration – make delicious and healthy food accessible to everyone.
‘It is not a short term diet, it’s a long-term lifestyle change,’ is the formula of Young’s life and has become a key to wellness for everyone is his dream. His inspiration continues today with 185 The Flame Broiler Restaurants in California, Arizona, Florida, Nevada, and Oklahoma.
Journey from Conception to The Flame Broiler
Young’s journey was never an easy one, but one on which he has enjoyed every step of the way, giving his best in everything. His underlying mission is to bring healthy fast food to everyone, if possible, in a convenient and affordable way.
Young came to the US with his family at a very young age. After graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), he joined the workforce of a life insurance company in a sales position that required him to be on the road during meal times. As a result, Young ate unhealthily at every fast food chain imaginable. Soon after, he fell ill, and numerous medical professionals were unable to diagnose his ailments. Shortly after, he decided to leave his position and start eating right, and immediately saw a change in his health. Still needing to support his family, and with his recent health issues on the forefront of his mind – Young saw an opportunity in the fast food industry for a healthy, quick-serve alternative.
In 1995, he went on to open the very first The Flame Broiler restaurant in Orange County, CA with the goal of making a living by helping others and improving people’s overall quality of life through their eating habits. Young says “with that primary goal in my mind; I would say that the word that best describes me is ‘compassionate,’ as I often find myself concerned about the well-being of others more so than myself.”
The Flame Broiler: We Are Committed to Your Health
Founded in 1995 by Young Lee, The Flame Broiler provides a healthy, on-the-go meal for everyone. The company is strong and growing, with a goal of hitting 200 units by the year’s end. Their commitment to friendly service, a clean and inviting environment, and healthy food served fast has already won the approval of their customers of all ethnicities. Also, for health’s sake, they will continue looking for ways to improve the quality of their food. Not perfect, but always working towards perfection!
The Flame Broiler stands apart from the rest because it provides a unique concept not very well-known to the fast industry. From day one The Flame Broiler is, and will continue to work to be, entirely healthy. While others are just now making the transition to healthier options, The Flame Broiler started with this notion. The Flame Broiler doesn’t advertise and instead relies on brand fanatics to open stores if they have the passion for it.
The Flame Broiler is best known for their brown or white rice bowls, featuring all the protein sources of your choice (charbroiled tofu, chicken, or beef), blanched vegetables and topped with green onions. From there, guests can add five unique sauces of their choice. Flame Broiler’s bowls start as low as 140 calories and use no dairy, trans-fat, skin, fryers or HFCS. This practice is something that a lot of the food industry is now turning to, but something they’ve implemented from the very beginning.
Turning Hurdles into Opportunities
The DNA of The Flame Broiler is their family values. The Flame Broiler is a family-run business, with Young’s son Daniel at the helm of their marketing team, and his wife and their children very much involved in day-to-day operations as well. They fully trust each other and have an honest and open working relationship. Consumers get the benefit because they trust someone who’s already been through it themselves. More than anyone, Young’s family knows the benefits of eating well and healthily, and what it can do for your mind and your body.
Being a family-run business, the biggest challenge for Lee’s family is coming home after work and falling back into business mode instead of spending quality time with one another. Because of this, they’ve designated dinner a “business free” zone. Young’s advice to the families looking to go into business together is never to do anything that would create resentment or have an impact on personal relationships.
Young’s Leadership Skills and Achievements
“I owe my success to hard work and faith, applying ‘care’ to everything that I do. The Flame Broiler’s success is due to the countless hours I put into the concept when it was first starting out. It was a risk I was willing to take, and one that fortunately paid off for me,” assures Young.
He continues, “My leadership skills entail me to work every day to set the best example for everyone involved in The Flame Broiler – from each franchise to managers to my family and beyond – making wise choices and using my past mistakes to avoid future ones. I want to set a good example, and try to live my life in a way that those who work for me are proud of and copy. A great achievement is that what started as one shop in Orange County has now grown to more than 185 locations in 5 states.”
The best part of the company is their goal of helping others succeed. Whether it’s providing healthy meals for a family, providing a healthy lunch choice or providing a nutritious after-work out meal, our goal is to promote healthy choices, with the convenience of quick service. Many people use the convenience of fast food as an excuse to not eat well, and we’re hoping that by making The Flame Broiler an option, we’re encouraging consumers to make better food decisions.
“I think 2017 will continue to see restaurants in the mid-price range fail, while fast-casual concepts with a lower cost will continue to thrive. Reasons for this surge in fast-casual chains includes lower price points, but also better food quality for the price. The convenience of getting in and out quickly – while also eliminating the possibility of bad service, plus the guarantee of a good meal is too good to pass up and keeps our customers returning. People want the most benefit for their dollar, and with concepts like ours, they’re getting that,” says Young.