Everything is going according to the plan for Ghetto Gastro, but that isn’t stopping co-founder Jon Gray, who launched the company alongside Lester Walker and Pierre Serrao, from wanting more.
For him, the milestones that the breakfast-forward company has hit within ten years is what he’d hoped had happened within ten weeks. However, when journeying into entrepreneurship, as they say, patience is indeed a virtue.
“I think the level of success and the milestones we’ve been able to hit within ten years, I thought we were gonna hit within ten weeks. So we’re a little late — a little behind schedule, but everything is a blessing,” Gray told AFROTECH.
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Ghetto Gastro may be making bold moves within the breakfast industry, but Gray says the overall mission is to carve out a space to tell stories through food.
“We feel like nourishment is such an important pillar depending upon human and community building,” he shared. “We wanted to take that approach with the skillset of my partners, my home — being a native to the design and art space — and just kind of wanted to bring all of that together to create something special.”
With a brand that is just as vibrant as its offerings, Gray says partnering with a retailer like Target was a no-brainer.
“When we think about the pinnacle of cool and accessibility, the retail partner that always came to the top of mind for us was Target,” Gray explained. “Just thinking about the different collaborations that they’ve done on the design side with different brands and whatnot, different fashion designers, even down to the innovation that they have in beauty.”
He continued, “We felt like we could be the ideal partner to be a part of the innovation that they have happening in food and also the reach that they have on people. We feel like our message and what we have to offer is more impactful when we reach and touch more people. So, we were here to be inclusive for the capital, not exclusive for the capital.”
Ghetto Gastro’s bottomline is bringing the ideologies that make up their company and sharing them with the masses to “make it easier for them to make better choices” with a flavor first approach. The way they do that is by taking flavors from the Pan African pantry and coupling them with global south natural ingredients and plant-based foods.
“When you grow up in the neighborhoods like I grew up in, you see the environmental impacts on our health,” he said. “So, all of these things, I’ve been a part of, we don’t have the luxury to make stuff because it’s cool, we also have to think about the impact and how we are being helpful, you know, leaving the world better than we found it.”
While Ghetto Gastro now has nine new available products available for purchase in Target, including various pancake mixes, syrup, and toaster pastries, Gray says there will be more where this comes from. The goal is to take things further in the food industry and even the content space, utilizing the founders’ passion for food as the background for sharing stories.