Small Business Staying Authentic in Business with David Choi of Seoul Taco

by the editorial team at Citi | September 04, 2020

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David Choi, founder of Seoul Taco and Citi® / AAdvantage® brand ambassador, embodies the entrepreneurial spirit.

It’s evident in his steadfast commitment to the growth of his business — from a single food truck to a cohort of fast-casual restaurants — and vision towards the intersection of food and art.

In 2011, Choi embarked on a journey to pursue his dream of opening a Korean-Mexican fusion food truck. Today, Seoul Taco has expanded to include seven brick and mortar locations in Illinois and Missouri. And, despite challenges, Choi’s journey has been a testament to the power of perseverance and the importance of resiliency in entrepreneurship.

“I think it is important to stick with your gut in terms of who you are and your DNA as a business,” Choi says. It’s why he has built his restaurants and brand on the mantra, “Stay true to your vision.”

Following are four ways Choi has stayed focused on his vision and built a successful business rooted in creativity, community and authenticity.

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Stay true to your vision.
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1. Stay authentic

Choi built his brand on authenticity and continues to manifest his own vision by following his passions. He refuses to be a “cookie cutter business” that copies and pastes from an existing blueprint.

2. Focus on the community

Choi established his business with a focus on the importance of community. His restaurants are located in culturally rich areas with vibrant youth populations where he can weave street art into his business to create a brand that resonates with the local neighborhoods.

3. Be ready to improvise

Choi has had his share of obstacles — from the growing pains of an expanding business to the daily challenges of relocating his food truck due to bad weather. As a result, Choi has learned the importance of adapting to change, and believes that part of his success is the ability to improvise in trying times. 

4. Invest in people and leadership

Choi believes in investing in the growth and development of his employees. After withstanding many of the challenges of starting a business, Choi learned the important lesson that “there is no growth without a team.” Ultimately, trusting and building his team has helped to bring his business to the next level.

For more insights and business tips from David Choi, watch the full video above.

Small businesses are the heart and soul of our communities. That’s why Citi has long been a champion of independently owned businesses and is committed to helping them survive and thrive. Learn more about what Citi is doing to support small businesses here.

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