Jackmont Hospitality: A Georgia Family Business by Chuck Higgins
In the depths of the Great Depression, the Reverend Maynard Jackson, Sr., and his wife, Dr. Irene Dobbs Jackson, established a small family resort in the North Georgia Mountains named “Jackson’s Mountain”.
The mountain came to be known as a refuge where Afro-American families and friends could come and enjoy food and kindness in hostile times.
Years later, their son, Maynard H. Jackson, Jr. – the first black mayor of Atlanta – daughter, Brooke Jackson Edmond, and an associate, Daniel Halpern, came together to take over the business. They formed a full-service hospitality management company and named it “Jackmont” in honor of the Jackson family history.
Since 1994, Jackmont Hospitality has grown to own multiple casualdining restaurants and manage dining programs for corporations and educational institutions.
Today Jackmont Hospitality is among the fastest- growing franchises of TGI FRIDAYS. It has the strategic and financial management skills which is required to run a successful hospitality operation. Its owns and operates 40 TGI FRIDAYS throughout the United States, with projected annual sales of $100 million and serving more than 200,000 guests weekly.
In addition to the TGIF franchise, Jackmont has provided airport food service concessions since 1996 in the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield- Jackson Atlanta International Airport, with $200 million annually. Jackmont Hospitality services are very broad, and even provide healthcare food services in hospitals, and school lunch programs for Atlanta Public Schools.
Economist Andrew Brimmer, in The Road Ahead: Prospects for Blacks in Business, concluded that it takes a lot more for black businesses to succeed than for white ones due in part to racial discrimination.
He writes, “If blacks want to have a truly meaningful role in the business world of the future, they will have to become a new breed of entrepreneurs. They must be prepared to compete in a variety of new fields against a phalanx of nationwide corporations ever anxious to attract an increasing share of the rising income and expenditures of the black community. Failure on the part of black-owned firms to diversify means stagnation and decline.”
Jackmount has proven that they can diversify their market. Its success is not determined by whether it is a black or a white business, but through the application of strong management and strategic vision. Among their guiding principles is fostering an environment which encourages high standards and team work.
The black business community has faced many unfair obstacles over history – companies that rise to the challenge like Jackmont have the best chance to succeed.