In the early 1980s, Lawrence Shamsid-Deen ran and operated Supreme Fish, one of Atlanta’s first Black-owned franchises. Fast-forward nearly 41 years, Shamsid-Deen’s son, Waleed, runs and operates Supreme Burger, expanding the brand with his wife Quiana. Supreme Burger—known for gourmet burgers, sandwiches, and quick service—also aims to be a company that gives to the community. Under the Supreme Family Foundation, Supreme Burger currently provides over 15,000 meals per week for youth and seniors in Atlanta and surrounding areas.
“We wanted to make sure we had a model that was more of a social entrepreneurship model for our business. Every burger that’s bought will help the community in some sort of way,” said Quiana Shamsid-Deen. “We want to attack food insecurity, we want to focus on cultural exchange, and we also want to focus on the racial wealth gap as well. The first thing we started doing was Meals on Wheels, and K-12 emergency food distribution.”
Supreme Burger’s strides in the community will become international as Quiana, Waleed, and the entire Supreme Burger team plan to create a program that will focus on teaching children a second language. The couple has also opened a Supreme Burger location in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.
DoorDash awarded Supreme Burger $20,000 through its Main Street Accelerator Program, an 8-week program constructed by DoorDash and Accion Opportunity Fund that provides 100 participants with an immersive curriculum that aims to assist Black, Indigenous and People of Color BIPOC-owned restaurants.
“During the period of COVID, we looked at how to survive in the restaurant space. So we started looking for opportunities to write grants, to give back to the community, to frontline food services, to set up emergency sites for children,” said Waleed Shamsid-Deen. “We ran across the DoorDash application. A couple of thousand businesses applied and they honored like 100 businesses across the United States and we were one of the few in Atlanta to actually receive the DoorDash grant.”
The grant comes at a great time for the company. Both Quiana and Waleed Shamsid-Deen admitted the company lost nearly 50 percent of its revenue and the burger joint had to shut down for 2 months.
“During that time we were also able to raise around 1 million dollars in community support to continue to provide services to the community through grants, through government contracts, through foundations,” said Waleed Shamsid-Deen. “We were aggressively writing so that we didn’t have to lay off any of our employees and we can serve the community at the same time.”
Waleed wants to see hundreds of Supreme Burger locations across the country—similarly to McDonald’s and Steak and Shake. He says the only thing that halts the process is access to capital. He says Supreme Burger is using a crowdfunding campaign to gain the dollars that will give his company the capital to grow.
“We are going to raise 5 million total,” said Waleed Shamsid-Deen. “We want to build the franchise up so that we can support other people who want to go into business. We will be franchising Supreme Burger and Supreme Fish Delight. We sold 3 franchises in the first quarter so we have new locations opening in Charlotte, Atlanta, and in Mexico.”
The campaign can be located at InvestInSupreme.com.