- Lancaster native Jabron Taylor’s next big dream is to franchise the concept and open 100 restaurants over the next five years.
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Despite having zero restaurant experience, Jabron Taylor had a big dream: five locations of his spicy chicken concept, Blazin’ J’s.
“I love food, so I wanted to be in the restaurant industry,” he remembers.
In late September, less than three years after opening his first location on East King Street in downtown Lancaster, Jabron was on the campus of The College of New Jersey unlocking the doors to the latest Blazin’ J’s.
The expansion grew his spicy chicken kingdom to its fifth location — the others including a spot in the Park City Center mall, another in West Chester, and a mobile food trailer.
“I’m not a half-hearted guy,” Jabron says. “I always look at the greater picture.”
Wanting to be more
Growing up in inner city Lancaster, the third of seven kids, Jabron always had dreams bigger than his circumstances.
His mom and grandmother didn’t have a lot of money, he says, but they had a lot of love.
When he stepped outside his front door, though, Jabron remembers being surrounded by negativity.
“I always wanted to be more,” he says.
Jabron found the key to his success in working hard and believing in himself. When he had questions, he researched them online or learned from others in the industry.
“Before I was a leader, I was a great follower,” he says. “I still want to learn from other people, still want to take it all in.”
The night before opening his Lancaster Blazin’ J’s, Jabron — who had never made a chicken sandwich before he began working on the concept — was still perfecting his signature recipe.
It paid off: The J’s Way Chicken Sandwich, featuring its specialty house hot sauce, was an instant hit and lauded by many reviewers as the best chicken sandwich they’ve ever had.
Today, along with his other responsibilities as CEO, Jabron often still finds himself behind a counter cooking spicy chicken, Belgian waffles, and fresh cut fries.
And now that Jabron’s hit his initial goal, he and his wife, Nicole, along with their partners Dustin and Heather Lewis and Andre and Tasha Cole, are dreaming even bigger.
In the next five years, they hope to franchise Blazin’ J’s and open 100 restaurants from Florida to New York. They’re also planning to open a distribution center in York County.
“If you work hard and believe in something, it’s possible,” he says. “It has changed my life, and it’s changing other people’s lives.”