Lowell Hawthorne is the CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill, a Caribbean fast-food chain based in the Bronx. He is the son of a Jamaican baker. Lowell came to the U.S. in 1981. He graduated from Bronx Community College and worked as an accountant with the New York Police Department for nine years before opening the first Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill restaurant. It wasn’t easy. When banks refused Lowell and his family (he has nine siblings involved in the family business), they used the Caribbean financial practice of susu. Everyone pitched in $100 a week to raise the start-up money ($107,000). (Approximately 75% of Jamaican immigrants in New York participated in susus during the 1980s.)
Today there are more than 120 Golden Krust Bakery & Grill locations in eight states: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Golden Krust currently charges an initial franchise fee of $25,000 for a traditional franchise and $15,000 for a kiosk. Undercover Boss airs Sundays at 9pm and 10pm on CBS.