Past Projects

I’ve had a pretty fun career so far. And even though the best is yet ahead, there are some things to celebrate!


Started in 2005. 

My partners and I took over an old noodle house space, and turned it into the second crawfish restaurant brand in Little Saigon (we were trying to go head-to-head with Boiling Crab). 

Didn’t know what we were doing. Made every mistake you could think of. Had a series of accidents. But still somehow survived lol!

I got lucky. 

In 2008, was acquired for almost three times our investment. 

The Cajun Corner logo
Paul T Tran and friends who were co-founders of their seafood boil venture
Seafood boil crawfish and corn


In 2007, The Cajun Corner started getting a bunch of franchise requests. 

We didn’t know how to do that, so that set me on a path to learn more about the business model.

I found Fransmart, the world’s largest franchise development company at the time (with offices in Newport Beach and Washington DC), and interviewed with them.

Even though The Cajun Corner wasn’t ready, Fransmart was hiring and I wanted to learn the business. 

I got hired, and ran both my restaurant and my franchise development job at the same time. 

I got lucky. 

For the next ten years, I was mentored by franchising OGs Dan Rowe, Al Rowe, Mike LaRue, and others and learned how to scale small brands from 1-4 stores into large, global, valuable brands. 

I learned how Fransmart took Five Guys Burgers & Fries from five stores to over 2,000 locations and generating over $1 billion sales. 

And how they took Qdoba (Chipotle’s only other competitor at the time) from one unit to now over 400 stores; and sold to Jack-In-The-Box for over $45 along the way. 

In 2017, I left the company to grow my own chain of stores for The Halal Guys (which is a client of Fransmart’s).

I still consult for the company on a case-by-case basis. I credit most of my franchising success to this experience.


Helped a 9-unit healthy fast food chain grow to over 200 units, and eventually go public on the stock exchange. They went on to open an additional 200 stores, and have a presence in over 15 countries. 

Helped a one-unit organic burger chain grow to almost 100 stores (including successful stores in the Middle East) before it was acquired by a publicly-traded company. 

Helped the Web3 restaurant brand Bored & Hungry facilitate a deal to open stores in the Philippines - with more in development in South Korea, Japan, Singapore, and other parts of Asia. 

Helped the Matte Black Coffee chain designed by world-famous artist Joshua Vides and award-winning Mostra Coffee facilitate a licensed deal to open in Seoul, South Korea. As of this date, there are two open stores, with plans to open 20 more in the coming years.

Matte Black Coffee Interior in Seoul, South Korea
Matte Black Coffee Interior in Seoul, South Korea
Matte Black Coffee Interior in Seoul, South Korea
Matte Black Coffee Interior in Seoul, South Korea
Matte Black Coffee Interior in Seoul, South Korea
Matte Black Coffee Interior Mirror

Helped a successful hospitality company negotiate a deal to bring a 400-unit teahouse into the US successfully. 

Helped a company raise $25 million restaurant development in the US. 

Raised $5 million for my own chain of The Halal Guys restaurants. 

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