Live Inspired Podcast: Ep. 102 How to Outperform the Competition (Hot Chicken Takeover)

John O'Leary

John O'Leary

Inspiring Story of Overcoming Challenges

Joe DeLoss, Hot Chicken TakeoverJoe DeLoss is the founder of Hot Chicken Takeover, a Nashville-style, hot chicken restaurant chain based out of Ohio. What’s more inspiring than delicious fried chicken? The mission behind the chicken and the resulting success and growth the company is enjoying.

Joe will share how his competitive advantage (what he calls fair ‘chance employment’) is leading Hot Chicken Takeover to outperform its competitors in productivity 2 to 1.

Join me and Joe DeLoss to get inspired and new ideas to grow your business, life and relationships.

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  • “How can we sustainably tackle problems in our community through entrepreneurship?”
  • Meaningful employment = building positive job experiences for people who probably haven’t had many due to homelessness, poor work history, incarceration, criminal record.
  • One in 3 Americans have a criminal record from misdemeanor to felony. “The work we do at Hot Chicken Takeover isn’t charitable. We hire really high character, high integrity people (who have been looked over by traditional employers) and have made our restaurant best in class.”
  • “Our team members are proving that their futures are bright and look much different than the past so many others hold them to.”
  • Turnover is 40% or less. At Hot Chicken Takeover, we’re performing 2 to 3 times better in terms of employee turnover + productivity in our segment. Love and community are disruptive for everybody and have been taken out of most environments. As an employer, these are key elements for us and it makes a difference for the community of employees and customers.
  • “Challenge and adversity is part of life, but suffering is optional.”
  • “If you can reflect, empathize and lead with love instead of judgement you will start to understand that a lot can be done. You have that choice everyday. Take it. Lead with love, it will be more disruptive than any technology or application we will ever have.”

If you’d like to hear more inspired dialogue around meaningful employment, check out Ep. 92 Ex-Felons to Farmers, highlighting Ironbound Hard Cider.


1. What is the best book you've ever read? Walden by Henry David Thoreau. Everytime I read it I find some peace and contentment. The idea of seeking and exploring a different way of living inspired me to take the reigns of what my life will look like. A life of exploration, understanding and reflection is the basis of growth.

2. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today? Creativity and freedom from ego is really magical. Battling with my judgements of myself constrains me. The more I can be present, love and empathize with the world the way children do feels boundless.

3. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be? Nothing, if you press me I’ll go straight tactical: My iPhone.

4. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be? I want mountains not beach! My wife, Lisa. Every meaningful conversation we have opens me up and gives me a different perspective.

5. What is the best advice you’ve ever received? As a leader, instead of answering the question, ask the question back. If you have the right community around you, they’ll have the right answer. It is the most freeing thing.

6. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self? Slow down and be present. Make decision for the moment you are in not the moment you want to be in. In my 20s, I escaped to my future a lot. It damaged relationships, because it is not the place to be.

7. It's been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read? He was empathetic, saw and communicated the value that everybody has.


If you enjoyed today's episode: Subscribe, rate & review wherever you get your podcasts. See you here next Thursday!

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The post Live Inspired Podcast: Ep. 102 How to Outperform the Competition (Hot Chicken Takeover) appeared first on John O'Leary.

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