Committed to his community, Eddie Flores president and CEO of L&L Hawaiian Barbecue has consistently been working with and for East-West Center, which assists in promoting and solidifying ties between the United States and Asia and Pacific countries.
“EWC is a great organization. It helps to bridge the U.S. with Asian countries. It is even more important with China and India becoming the new economic powers in the future. I was (on the) board of governors of EWC for eight years. I have a warm connection with the organization,” says Flores, who recently donated $50,000 to the EWC to help fund students from Hawaii, the Mainland and Asia.
His time at EWC started in 1996 when he was attending the University of Hawaii and working part time in the cafeteria.
“I was probably one of the very few Filipino students in the College of Business Administration (Shidler College of Business). I worked in the EWC cafeteria to support myself and to meet other foreign students,” he adds.
Moving to Hawaii in 1963 as an immigrant, Flores has gradually distinguished himself as a successful entrepreneur and community activist who has never taken for granted the Hawaii community that he credits for his achievements, which in the beginning did not include the restaurant business.
“When my family immigrated to Hawaii, we were very poor. When I was young I started supporting my family with whatever I made. I bought L&L as a gift to my mother, but didn’t have any intentions to be in the restaurant business myself,” says Flores, who was featured on MidWeek‘s cover Oct. 28, 1998. “I took over operations 20 years ago after I got tired of the real estate business. My business is successful because the people of Hawaii have been very supportive of my career and business. Whatever I give to the community, I got back 100 times more.”
Internationally known L&L has grown to more than 185 locations, which is surprising to Flores who is most shocked to see L&L open in New Zealand and America Samoa.
“It is a big surprise to have so many locations. It was not planned. I just went with the flow. I did not conduct any feasibility studies or long-range planning. My professors at UH would have given me an F,” he jokes.
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