Derrick Hayes is one CEO who takes pride in mentoring the next generation of business leaders. While appearing on Hip Hop & Enterprise, the Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks owner shared tips and insight from his own unique experience that has led him to a millionaire-dollar empire.
The West Philadelphia native relocated to Atlanta where he began his steady rise as a restaurateur and philanthropist. Hayes launched Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks in 2014 as a way to merge his passion for community, food, and business.
What started as a small water-ice shop in a 749 sq. ft Shell gas station in Dunwoody, Georgia has since grown into the nationally known Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks with store and mobile locations all across metro Atlanta.
While many business owners were struggling in 2020, Big Dave’s Cheesteakes experienced its biggest year to date with an increase of over 100% in sales. The success was in huge part to Hayes’ “Bigger Than Food” approach where he uses his business as a hub for mentorship and inspiration.
Hayes spent much of 2020 providing high-quality, hand-made food to those in need and lending
a helping hand in the form of free meals to customers, feeding local frontline workers, and employing the
communities’ youth.
In 2021, Hayes’ passion for community & food landed him a spot as a Forbes 2021 Next 1000 Honoree. He continues to pour community efforts that support and stand behind the Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks brand.
In addition to running his franchise eatery, Hayes is also the founder of the David & Derrick Hayes Foundation & Co-Owner of vegan cheesesteak concept “Dinkies” with Slutty Vegan ATL CEO & Vegan restaurant phenom, Pinky Cole.
Together, the power couple of restaurateurs and philanthropists covered Essence magazine earlier this year due to their success in business and charity. The pair take pride in their business endeavors and maintaining a healthy work-life balance as parents to their young kids.
Press play below to learn more about Derrick D. Hayes’ journey from West Philly to Forbes.



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