Managing Director with Chalak Mitra Group of Companies since 2004
When it comes to strategic direction and vision at Chalak Mitra Group of Companies (CMG), Chairman and President Manish Patel along with rest of his partners are on top of things. He says, “What I do now is primarily focus on a couple of brands along with providing guidance on future growth for CMG.”
Manish was an honors graduate in both high school and college, although he says that he wasn’t always the best behaved in his younger years.
“I actually failed first grade and had to repeat it. I mean, nobody fails first grade. I was more interested in hanging out and just playing different sports instead of education.” In an attempt to straighten Manish out, his parents sent him to a different school, and while he hated the experience in the moment, he credits that time and experience in his life with who he is today.
“I learned the value of money and responsibility. I learned to be independent.”
Aside from his academic pursuits, Manish has always been an entrepreneur. While working full-time and attending college full-time, he and his friends would import clothing to sell. Manish’s mother was a seamstress and could make alterations, and friends would model the clothes.
Professionally, Manish ended up working for Texas Instruments after graduating from college, but he and his brother-in-law also purchased a check cashing business. After selling the business, Manish and Chalak Mitra Group Partner Pushpak Patel purchased their first restaurant franchise location.
In 2001, Manish got involved in Genghis Grill. He says, “I’ve known most of the Chalak Mitra Group guys since college, and when they said they were planning on investing in the Genghis brand, I wanted to be involved in some capacity. I was already working with Pushpak and YUM! Brands because of the strength of the brands. Also, Puskpak and I are big KFC & Taco Bell fans.”
After turning around some KFC locations in the Midwest, the corporate office took notice. With some negotiation, Manish and Pushpak received a 120-store deal, the largest in US KFC history.
In terms of leadership, Manish believes that leading by example is one of the most important things he can do especially during the tough times. He states that he’s not afraid to work the frontline because it instills confidence in employees. He also believes that making money for yourself should be the last reason to get into any business.
“I love working with my friends every day. We want to make money for our investors, sure, but we also want to be sure that we’re passionate about what we’re doing,” he says.
Manish also places a strong emphasis on making smart choices for Chalak Mitra Group. As the company employs thousands of people, that’s thousands of families to support, and one bad decision can go on to have a lasting impact on Chalak Mitra Group’s employees. He says, “We want to grow people, and to do that, we all need to ensure that we have the best interests of our employees and investors at heart. In fact, our logo with the triangle was chosen to represent the three concerns of Chalak Mitra Group: our employees, our investors and the company itself.”
When not working, Manish enjoys exercise as an outlet for stress, but he’s also a huge music fan. He claims that when a good song comes on, he’s able to forget everything and just get lost in the music. “You have to learn to disconnect,” he says, “especially when with family. The business is important, but so is your health.” When it comes to food, Manish is proud of the brands Chalak Mitra Group represents, but he also likes to branch out and try different cuisine.
Philanthropy is near to Manish’s heart. He says, “I’ve worked with some charities that assist deaf and mute children. In fact, all of the guys here at Chalak Mitra Group are very sensitive when it comes to helping children’s charities. Personally, I would love the opportunity to build a school or a senior housing complex. Writing a check is easy, but giving your time; that’s powerful.”
Manish and his partners at Chalak Mitra Group have been involved in assisting charities with earthquake relief efforts in Nepal, and are always seeking new opportunities to help those in need, across Dallas, across the country and across the world.