Secrets of Success: Karim Webb and Edward Barnett


We’ve launched Secrets of Success, a new weekly interview series here at’s Small Business Forum. I’ve asked some of the smartest, most innovative, most successful people I know to share their insights and success secrets.

Meet: Karim Webb and Edward Barnett, the owners of PCF Restaurant Management, which owns two Buffalo Wild Wings franchises in Los Angeles. The duo opened their first franchise in the middle of the Great Recession, and their second in a part of Los Angeles that hadn’t seen a new full-service restaurant open in 25 years. They’ve done so well, they’ve won awards from their franchisor and have been recognized for creating jobs and offering management training to low-skilled workers in the area. What did you want to be when you grew up?

Edward Barnett: As a child I wanted to be a professional athlete when I grew up.

Karim Webb: I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I wasn’t sure what type of business I wanted to own, but I knew I wanted to be at the helm of a large enterprise. Why did you start your own business?

Barnett: Early in my career, the company I worked for was acquired by another company. After the acquisition was completed, there were quite a few layoffs. The atmosphere around the office was tense with everyone not knowing if today would be their last day. I decided at that time I would never put my livelihood in the hands of another company again. I wanted to control my own destiny as much as possible moving forward.

Webb: Being an employee didn’t appeal to me. Plus, my experience as the child of a successful restaurant franchisee spoke to me and enlightened my understanding of the opportunities afforded within the restaurant industry. Did you experience a pivotal moment on your way to success?

Barnett: I tend to not look at myself as a success or like “I’ve made it.” I believe when you do that, you start to get complacent and lose the drive that got you to this point.

Webb: The pivotal moment was presenting the idea of becoming a Buffalo Wild Wings Franchisee to my business partner, Edward Barnett, and his enthusiastic endorsement of the idea. What’s the best small business advice you ever gave and/or received?

Barnett: It’s so simple but true, if you really want to have your own business with staying power you must have dogged determination and never take no for an answer. When times get tough, and they will, are you going to pack up your bags and quit or are you going to continue to fight until you reach the end goal?

Webb: My father says often, “More is not better, better is better.” Meaning [opening] more units is not the goal of our business; more profitable units is. What’s one “best practice” more entrepreneurs should be embracing?

Barnett: Embrace technology, especially social media. Understand how your target consumer uses technology and develop strategies to take advantage of it. If you don’t, you are setting your business up for failure.

Webb: Engage your team’s sense of purpose in addition to focusing on their development. People need to know leaders care about what’s important to them before they’re willing to genuinely and consistently embrace the objectives of leadership. Do you have a small business prediction?

Barnett: I think more people will move into self-employment and embrace entrepreneurship. Some of these small businesses will eventually grow into larger businesses, which is vital to our country’s economy.

Webb: Successful small business people will redefine leadership by becoming change agents in their companies and communities. Do you have a favorite book?

Barnett: Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun? How Reginald Lewis Created a Billion-Dollar Business Empire, by Reginald F. Lewis & Blair S. Walker

Webb: Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, by Susan Jeffries Is there a quote you find particularly inspiring?

Barnett: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Webb: “People will not remember what you said, they won’t remember what you did, but they WILL remember how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou