In 1947 Lucy Jackson, a self-taught cook decided to own her own restaurant. While working on developing a name for the business, she received some uncommon inspiration from a couple of sources. First, while on a trip to California, she saw a picture of a bee on a large moving sign, and viewing it as a sign, decided to name her restaurant after it.
Shortly thereafter, she was moved to help an African missionary by providing a hot meal for her. The missionary was previously in another well known restaurant, but couldn't afford to buy anything to eat. She was told, "Go down to Busy Bee, Momma Lucy will feed you!" The missionary was so refreshed and enjoyed the meal so much that she was moved to encourage the aspiring entrepreneur that because of her kindness, her business would always be busy, and that it would always be blessed. It was these two encounters that inspired the now-famous name "Busy Bee."
After enjoying more than two decades of lasting success, Lucy decided to retire by selling the business to two investors from the real estate and newspaper industries. Because the partners did not have the time and access to efficiently run their restaurant business, they in turn decided to sell the company to Tracy's father in the early 80's.
Upon acquiring the Busy Bee, Tracy's father insisted upon using only the freshest foods and ingredients because that's what he had grown accustomed to as a customer from the original owner. After Tracy's father became ill, he asked her to assist in running the business. She accepted, not because of the prestige of running a business, but because she was a "Father's daughter," and if he had asked her to mop the floors, she would have. Her ambition to master the business and learn it from the inside out, motivated her to work her way up from the "bottom" of the business, by doing everything from washing pots, picking greens, cutting chicken, and picking up supplies. It was this experience that gave Tracy the know-how and the passion for making unforgettable and enjoyable customer experiences.
While running the Busy Bee, a patron by the name of Rev. Hosea Williams encouraged her with some simple advice. He told her that if she "kept the food consistent, the people would keep coming back." This inspired Tracy to spend time with the cooks to learn and record their homemade, recipes which had been made from scratch in order to continue to deliver the great tasting food that has been Busy Bee's calling card to this day.
Even now, you can still find Tracy, not working behind a desk, but supporting her cooks, helping her wait staff, and even sitting down with patrons to share a story, laugh, and ask for feedback to ensure that the Busy Bee tradition of food and family atmosphere are alive and well.
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