Chief Executive Officer, Soul Foods
Shehzad Janmohamed is the CEO of the Soul Foods Group, which owns over 200 KFCs and Taco Bell restaurants across Canada. Shehzad has a background in international banking and lived in London prior to relocating to Canada and establishing the Canadian arm of the family business.
Can you please provide us with a background on your education?
I grew up in London, UK – graduated with a first class honours degree in economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
How did you transition into your current role at Soul Foods and what motivated you to venture away from traditional finance roles?
I thoroughly enjoyed the first five years of my career working within the finance industry in London, both with Credit Suisse and the Royal Bank of Scotland. My father started the QSR family business over 35 years ago in the UK. In 2010, there was a very exciting opportunity to expand that business into Canada by acquiring assets/ underperforming restaurants from a company that had filed for bankruptcy. The turnaround opportunity in a fast paced, people first business was too good an opportunity to pass and motivated me to transition into the family business and relocate to Canada.
As a business leader what are some of the biggest challenges you face and how do you overcome them?
The QSR industry is extremely fast paced, highly competitive with tight margins, and at the forefront of technological advancements. It is also labour intensive with high turnover rates. The only way to succeed is by keeping a strong people first mindset, continually investing in training and culture building and being open minded to new technology making its way into the industry. Being a leader in this industry often requires making bold investments ahead of the competition, often without the full business model having been proven out. Having a strong leadership team with commercial acumen allows me to make those moves with confidence.
What advice would you give to individuals who are newly beginning their career in finance?
During my time in finance, I quickly learnt that a key factor to success is having confidence in your ability and not being afraid of getting your name out there. The right type of networking can go a long way!