Sadaf Salout: The Juicy Entrepreneur

Story by: Lorie A. Parch

It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that Sadaf Salout ’07, ’10 MBA was born to run a restaurant.  The CSUF Mihaylo alumna and her twin sister, Darya ’07, ’10 MBA are the daughters of a successful restaurant owner;  Salout spent her childhood watching her father run Los Angeles-area restaurants serving the delectable Persian cuisine of her heritage. Later, as a teenager and young adult, she worked as a server in the family business. But it took studying at CSUF and Mihaylo to give Salout both the skills and the confidence to be ready to launch her own venture, she says. “As an undergrad, I took away from [Professor]  John Jackson that, ‘if you want your business to succeed you have to be first, best, or different,'” remembers Salout. “I decided to go with ‘different.’ There are so many Persian restaurants in Los Angeles, and I didn’t want to have the same kebab restaurant. So I changed the ambiance, made it more relaxed, more American.” In 2011, Salout opened Sadaf (which means “seashell” in Farsi) Restaurant, in Encino; a second location, in Culver City or downtown L.A., is in the works. (Try the Juicy Chicken, the restaurant’s most popular dish, recommends Salout;

Teamwork was another essential skill that Salout says Mihaylo helped to teach her. “Most of grad school is working in groups — just like you would in a company. That was the most difficult thing to deal with; there were so many people with diverse backgrounds,” Salout recalls. “But it helped me learn in my own business to work with my own employees. The group work has helped me to listen more, to be more patient, more understanding.”  The wide array of nationalities of Salout’s fellow students made teamwork essential . “The program is so diverse; we had students from Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, India,” she notes. “I’m Persian so I’m from a different culture as well. They all brought something with them that helped us all to be culturally competent and aware.”

Salout says the team consulting project — in which a group of students works with a real business — was tough, but extremely worthwhile. “My favorite part was [this] project, but I didn’t like it at the time,” laughs Salout. “It was scary to go to a real-life business and act like a professional. But the truth is that with the help and support of the professors, we got through the project and they helped us understand what we did to help the business.” If she had any advice for current students, it would be to try to enjoy the consulting project, since this real-world case study can prove invaluable in the years to come. “Really take it in, instead of just getting through it,” suggests Salout. “I actually still go back now to the consulting reports we did. I swear by them!”

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3 Responses to Sadaf Salout: The Juicy Entrepreneur

  1. Jerry Conrey says:

    Wonderful to learn of Salout’s success. As one of her mentors on two if her consulting reports, Salout always brought a cheerful demeanor to the challenge of the group dynamic. I’m proud to know her and Darya, to have met her wonderfully supportive parents, and to know she is thriving in business – I had little doubt she would.

    I hope she reaches out to me, as I’ve lost contact since she moved.

  2. Tonya Dallas says:

    Wonderful job! As a 2003 alumna, of CSUF I congratulate you! Keep up the “hard” work, and if you ever think of expanding to the State of Washington, please let me know!

  3. Alexander Nejadeh says:

    Great spotlight! I often eat at Darya (Orange, CA) and the food is great. I am sure her entrepreneurial father helped shape some of her business aspects.

    Good to hear the concept is doing well.

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