“In life as in football, hit the line hard. And then hit the line hard again.” This is John Offerdahl’s mantra, one that inspired the ex-Miami Dolphin in his transition from the football field to the equally competitive entrepreneurship field. John and his wife Lynn own and run Offerdahl’s Café Grill, a fast-casual restaurant chain that specializes in healthy, just-grilled chicken, steak, and seafood.
It’s not the first successful restaurant venture in the life of the five-time NFL Pro Bowl player.. During his legendary 8-year career as a linebacker with the Dolphins (playing for coach Don Shula and alongside Dan Marino), John designed, launched and operated Offerdahl’s Bagel Gourmet. It might seem that a bagel store is an unlikely concept for an athlete, especially a Wisconsin native of Norwegian background, but John’s persistence and canny branding made a local favorite with his unique interpretation of the breakfast staple. He expanded to ten stores that he eventually sold to Boston Market and merged into Einstein Bros. Bagels.
John was drawn back to the entrepreneurial game with his next idea: healthy protein, freshly grilled. Offerdahl’s Café Grill opened in 2000, and now operates in seven locations. In his candid interview with ENTREPRENEURradio, John discusses the importance of resilience and persistence, as well as the initial marketing challenges that came with the transition from bagels to an entirely different dining experience. John is always ready to tackle obstacles: “Don’t let the risk prevent you from taking the first step. That first step will create some momentum, and before you know it, you’ll be tackling your dreams.”
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