BY JEFF LEESEMAN | STAFF WRITER
MAY 2, 2022
Charles Jones loves people. This much is evident. And this same love is reciprocated when people come into contact with Charles Jones. The New Orleans native and former college basketball star with a smile from ear to ear never imagined that cooking would be a part of his destiny. Yet, one thing he did know was no matter what industry he became involved in it would include people. A self-proclaimed ’people person,’ Jones displays an inherent interest in providing the best quality and service for each customer he comes into contact with.
”Being in a positive environment where people come and have a good time and watching them have a good time off of your gift that the Lord has provided does something to your soul. That’s why you see me out there smiling and having a good time.” Jones told to blkpreneurship.com. ”Sometimes I can not sleep at night because I know how it makes me feel to put smiles on other folks faces. That’s how I knew this was my niche. One of the gifts the Lord provided for me.”
And as much time Jones spends in catering to the needs of others through his business activities in the New Orleans area, there was a point in which he did not know whether he nor his business could continue to make the impact he always envisioned. While many people were being affected by crime in the New Orleans area, it was not until Jones became personally affected that provided a cause for concern for his own personal safety. On several occasions criminals vandalized Jones’ property, which left exorbitant amounts of damage and the cost of fixing it. For all of the trouble inflicted upon Jones, he did not flee. Instead, he felt the need to make wiser decisions.
“I really considered moving, but I look at it like this is going on all over the U.S. and you just have to start moving in a certain way.” Jones said. ”The Lord helped me out with that as well. He (Lord) sent some reallty great people my way, who were not only my employees, but my team and family that has come and taken a lot of the burden off of me as far as work wise and just being there for me.”
Subsequently, Jones has since put those past learning experiences behind him. His current team and family members who came along at the right time to take away much of his burden, he now entrusts with the operational side of The NOLA Chuck Wagon. Prior to every catering job, Jones sits down with his crew and implements a plan of action underlying the importance of knowing each catering job is different. Considered a one-stop-shop for all of your mobile catering needs, Jones doesn’t simply provide food only for his many customers.
Much of Jones’ current business success evolves around those who he has surrounded himself with. Jones, who was one of the best players at his position, uses much of the same experiences he learned as a teammate at the college basketball level to instill the same work ethic into his current team. “When I started out with cooking, I started by myself and I did that for about a year.” Jones mentioned. ”I felt like I did not need the help because although the lines were extremely long, they (customers) were out there having such a good time they did not mind waiting. But as a business and basketball aspect, I started looking at how much more would I grow and more I can get accomplished if I build a team around me. And once I did that, it changed my life.”
In the coming years, the team Jones surrounds himself with may include one of the most important people in his life right now. His teenage son. Jones’ son has displayed an interest in the industry as a chef, following in the footsteps of his now famous dad. And although Jones has admitted he will continue to allow his son to make the best decision for himself regarding his desire to enter the industry, he also admits the possibility of his son potentially following in his footsteps brings a joy to his heart unlike anything else he’s been a part of.
”With my son, I never try to force him to do anything just because I was doing it.” Jones claims. “The cooking of course I was doing it so I introduced him. I introduced basketball to him and he fell in love with both. With the cooking I was really shocked about it because I would take him out to my cooking and catering events and he would tell his mom he wanted to do something else. Now as he’s getting older his mom calls and says he’s in here cooking again. He’s cooking more and more now because what dad wouldn’t want a protege’ of his own.”
When it comes to the near future of The NOLA Chuck Wagon, Jones keeps it close to the vest. One thing is for certain. Jones’ plan and long-term goals are strategically set up in a way to ensure his brand’s success. ”With my end goal, I would eventually like to franchise The NOLA Chuck Wagon. I would set it up by getting you a truck and trailer and all of the equipment. Of course you would have the name The NOLA Chuck Wagon and we would eventually have several of those trucks on the road.”
Ultimately, no matter what goal Charles Jones has set for the future of The NOLA Chuck Wagon, it is attainable because of his love and passion for people.
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