With her unyielding work ethic, Adenah Bayoh was destined for success.

According to Cuisine Noir, Bayoh started working at 13 in the United States. Her family had migrated to the country due to a civil war in Liberia. Making the most of each opportunity, she aimed to establish a new beginning for both herself and her family.

“When I got here, I was a busybody. I did everything,” Bayoh told Cuisine Noir. “I started my first job at McDonald’s at 13 years old. I worked there all throughout high school. When I went to college, I worked. I took 18 to 21 credits some semesters. But I always kept a job. I kept about two or three jobs.”

In higher learning at New Jersey’s Fairleigh Dickinson University, Bayoh would obtain a business management degree. By this time, her savings account totaled $27,000, which allowed her to purchase a home for her family in Irvington, NJ.

Bayoh would then work in the bank sector and acquire an interest in the real estate industry. However, little did she know that would lead to a $250 million real estate portfolio, per Shoppe Black, which includes several IHOP franchises.

“I wanted real estate, but I didn’t want a diner,” Bayoh expressed to Cuisine Noir. “I was working at the bank. I had real estate property, and I was pretty content with that. They say you make plans and God laughs.”

When Bayoh was introduced to the Greek owner of the Irvington IHOP diner, she shared her intention to purchase the property and provided a $25,000 deposit. Then the owner increased the asking price to $1.2 million, which she claims was inflated.

“When I gave him my $25,000, he jacked up the price to $1.2 million when it should have sold for $850,000 to $900,000,” she told the outlet. “A lot of banks wouldn’t finance me. I think the reason for that was they hadn’t seen an Adenah before. They hadn’t seen someone like me that wanted to pull off what I wanted to do.”

In 2007, Bayoh was able to secure the IHOP location and in doing so, she became one of the youngest franchisees at the time.

“I’ve always had the mentality of not thinking when is someone going to come in and do this, but when am I going to come and do it,” she explained to Cuisine Noir.

At the time of this writing, Bayoh owns four IHOP locations, including in downtown Newark. Shoppe Black described Bayoh’s third location as a “failing” restaurant before she bought it, as it was set to close and would have left 50 employees without a job.

When she took the reins of the Newark location in 2017, she had planned to add 40 employees to their team.

For Bayoh, struggling establishments are an opportunity to not only bring about improvement but also make a positive impact on the community.

“I think these communities where I am from suffer from disinvestment. Our communities are run down not because of us. They are rundown because we lack proper resources,” she expressed to Cuisine Noir. “It is the tale of Black history in this country. For me, when I see us, I see opportunity. I see perseverance. I see strength.”