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Deciding to Be a Risk Taker vs. Being a Risk Manager

Denise Tran

Denise Tran is the CEO of Bun Mee Vietnamese Sandwich Eatery, a gourmet, fast-casual restaurant that blends Vietnam’s street food concepts with modern interpretations and fresh, local ingredients. After practicing law in Seattle, Denise decided to transition and open Bun Mee in 2011. Within months of opening the doors, many of their menu items landed on San Francisco’s best lists. 

In 2019, Bun Mee’s sales exceeded eight figures and there are now four locations throughout the city, including locations in the San Francisco International Airport. Additionally, Bun Mee has been featured on the Travel Channel’s Food Paradise and recognized in numerous local, national, and international publications.

In 2020, Denise was awarded by the San Francisco chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization with the “Entrepreneur of the Year” award.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • Denise Tran, the CEO of Bun Mee, talks about why she decided to practice law
  • The risks involved with starting your own business
  • A turning point in Denise’s life
  • What inspired Denise to open her own restaurant?
  • The cold call that impacted the growth of Bun Mee
  • The learning curve Denise experienced when she opened her restaurant 
  • Building the culture of your business
  • Denise shares her approach to leadership
  • How Denise shifted her mindset to focus on opportunities during COVID-19

In this episode…

While starting your own business is filled with tons of uncertainty, it’s guaranteed to provide you with learning experiences that you can grow from—but you have to be willing. 

Denise Tran, the CEO of Bun Mee, knows firsthand the risks that entrepreneurs face when building a business and how the challenges that arise can lead to great opportunities.

Today, Denise shares her experience as a first-generation immigrant from Vietnam growing up in New Orleans. She talks about how she decided to stop practicing law and open her own restaurant. You’ll also hear about the trip to Vietnam that changed Denise’s outlook on life. 

Join Denise Tran, the CEO of Bun Mee, and Dov Pollack in this episode of the Next Wave Leadership Podcast. Denise shares her career experience and transition from working as an attorney to starting her own business. She also discusses how she defines success, how her company engages their employees, and shares her advice for entrepreneurs.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Next Wave Leadership.

Founded by Dov Pollack, Next Wave Leadership is an executive coaching firm focused on helping CEOs, executives and emerging leaders overcome their limiting beliefs which is an essential part of creating a growth mindset culture.

If you are looking to grow as a leader and create a vibrant and innovative culture in your organization, Next Wave Leadership can help you get the results you want and need.

To know more about what we can do to help you and your team grow, visit our website at or send us an email at [email protected].

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