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Inspiring Conversations with Michael Vaz of Chick’nCone

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael Vaz. Them and their team share their story with us below:Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael Vaz.  

Michael J. Vaz is an experienced nonprofit executive, community leader, and current Chief Executive Officer of Plus 3 LLC (dba Chick’ncone) a family-owned company that continues to operate from a nonprofit perspective. Within his nonprofit executive experience, he is responsible for managing the overall operations, marketing, and resources as well as acting as the main point of communications. He is a respected nonprofit professional and immediate past Executive Director of Woodside on the Move, a grassroots organization that provides free afterschool programs, housing advocacy, and various other social service programs to over 5000 families annually. 

Michael played an integral role in leading the turnaround of Woodside on the Move. As a nonprofit professional with over 20 years of experience in working with youth and families in a multitude of capacities, he received various organizational proclamations for his leadership from the NYC Comptroller (2018), NYC Office of the Public Advocate (2018), and NYS Assembly (2018) as well as personal commendations from the NYC Council (2016) and NYS Assembly (2021). Through his efforts during a time of financial uncertainty, Michael managed to increase funding for Woodside on the Move from $1.5 million to $2.7 million a year during his tenure (2017-2021) which increased their capacity to serve the Western Queens community. 

Michael received his bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo State in Political Science. He continues to work with nonprofits in underserved communities as well as a mentor to vulnerable youth. 

“Although we’ve decided to switch gears and apply our skills to opening a restaurant, we still continue to see our business through a nonprofit lens and we’re committed to that.” 

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Anything worth having is never easy. I and my partner left the nonprofit world into a non-profit space. The adjustment has been difficult but exciting. Learning about food service and all details that require it has been a challenge. Thus far, the community of Winter Park and throughout Central Florida have supported us. And has made the transition easier. 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
A modern take on a classic 

Welcome to Chick’nCone Winter Park, a restaurant that sells fried chicken in a handheld waffle cone. It is a “fork-free” spin on a classic southern favorite. The recipes we’ve created allow our menu to stay simple, fresh, and #SoCluckinGood. Crispy, juicy whole breast chicken pieces, homemade waffle cones, sauces from sweet and savory to spicy as well as Cajun fries to create a balanced meal that is photoshoot ready for lunch, dinner, or an in-between snack! 

You can find more information at 

We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
Food prices are on the rise. It is difficult to find staff 

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