Los Angeles, CA — Local kid does well.
That’s the headline that might sum up Daniel Griffin’s life succinctly and neatly, but it does not begin to give a complete picture of just who this Los Angeles businessman is.
“I grew up in foster care. I was in Section 8 housing and domestic violence shelters. I was a welfare recipient, and moved so many times that I attended 12 different schools between kindergarten and 12th grade,” said Griffin recounting the story he shares with youth, when he goes on motivational speaking engagements.
But he also played sports in high school–basketball to be exact–and that opened up the door for the ex-Crenshaw high standout to play B-ball in college at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
While he had a shot at the National Basketball Association after college, that did not pan out, and the 6-foot-7-inch forward went on to play overseas.
But Griffin did not stop there. He also earned a master’s degree, and after his playing days ended, began teaching physical education at one of the middle schools he attended–Willowbrook in Compton. And where he was once on Section 8, he now owns buildings that house Section 8 tenants.
Additionally, Griffin and his partner Robin Kirksey, another top notch prep basketball player out of Gardena High, own one of the top Wing Stop franchises in the country.
“Right now we are one of the highest grossing Wing Stops in the country. They have over 480 locations, and right now we’re in the top 10,” explained Griffin, who attributes the success of his Crenshaw Boulevard business in part to the community it serves.
“I grew up in the same community the business is in. I’m familiar with the area and the background of the people in the area. It’s been underserved for quite some time in terms of amenities and choices to dine.”
Griffin said the product and the expansive choice of flavors, like lemon pepper chicken, also help draw in customers and made the business opportunity particularly attractive to he and his partner.
“The cost to get in was real reasonable, and I thought the product was amazing,” Griffin added.
His Wing Stop store is more than a business to Griffin. It is also a launching pad for young people who remind him of himself.
“Some of my employees are my ex-students . . . and I let them know that they are not just an employee. I take a vested interest in their lives,” stated the entrepreneur who insists that the youngsters working for him go to college, and Griffin even helps students pay for their books. He also checks students’ grades, because he firmly believes that if youth are suffering academically and at home, they are going to suffer at work.
“I talk to employees to see what is going on in their lives, to see if I can help them. I demand that they do well in school and that every young person under age 18 be in school. Our goal is to have them own a Wing Stop or their own business,” Griffin stated.
Ultimately, the entrepreneur intends to grow his Wing Stop franchise bigger but at the same time he wants to make sure that he learns the business from the bottom up.