What in the world is a Cajun restaurant doing in the mountains of Colorado? From the moment that Raymond Griffin decided that he had a dream, a small step became a $100,000 accomplishment. Raymond Griffin had dreams of opening up a Cajun food restaurant chain and spreading his love of traditional Louisiana food around the country.
Previous, he was working a six-figure job in Lafitte, Louisiana as a national training director for a conversion van business. However, he found himself dreaming of taking his days to the water to fish. He quit his job, opened a lodge and operated a business with his late wife Belinda for 15 years. During this time, he became a full-blown Cajun chef.
The lodge ended up being a safe haven. After a whirlwind of disasters in the mid-2000s, (Hurricane Katrine, Rita, Ike, Gustav and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill), the lodge became a housing facility for BP workers.
When things settled, Griffins hopped in a RV and took a well-deserved vacation. By the time him and his wife reached Frisco, his wife’s back gave out and they settled into Frisco. It was then when he came up with the concept of The Lost Cajun.
The response was amazing. Originally with only 4 items on the menu, the crowds demanded more. He realized long before that people who visit New Orleans and then seek out shrimp étoufée at home find it disappointing.
Part of the success and joy of The Lost Cajun is the educational experience. Once you walk in, you’re handed a sample platter on a paddle with seafood gumbo, chicken and sausage gumbo, crawfish étoufée, red beans and rice, lobster bisque, and chicken and sausage jambalaya.
With only 15 seats, the original restaurant consistently does $777,000 to $790,000 in annual sales, and has grown 20 percent each year. The second unit say a similar year-to-year increase and then the franchise plan hatched.
Now, The Lost Cajun are in the towns of Littleton, Glenwood Springs, Pagosa Springs, Fort Collins, Colorado. Two are in South Carolina, two are in Texas and one in San Antonio.
Griffin says “When I opened the store, I didn’t know what food cost was. I didn’t know what labor cost was. I didn’t know anything about operating a restaurant. The only things I knew was how to produce good food and how to give great service. Those two things right there I truly believe with all my heart and if you do those two things first, all the other things will fall in place.”
This story gives Slap Ya Mama a warm and fuzzy feeling because our faith in our product is similar. We know how to deliver great cajun seasoning, regardless of dietary restrictions as well. We have been humbled by the embrace to our product and intend on selling our seasoning blend around the country so that people can enjoy the comfort of cajun cooking in their kitchen no matter where they are.