Angry Crab Shack founder Ron Lou is no stranger to firsts. He was born into a first-generation immigrant family from mainland China. In 1976, he was the first Asian-American to join the NFL when he was drafted by the Houston Oilers as an offensive lineman. And now, Angry Crab Shack is the first concept to fill a void in the restaurant industry by creating a full-service seafood restaurant franchise for Cajun food and Asian food lovers alike.
Ron Moves On
Ron had a solid work ethic instilled in him from a young age. He began working when he was just eight years old in the produce section of a local grocery store. So when he retired from the NFL in 1976 after playing for the Houston Oilers and Philadelphia Eagles, Ron did not want to sit idly by. He decided to pursue other interests – and he became a restaurateur.
Ron has worked in the restaurant business for more than 25 years. After marrying his wife, he opened a Chinese restaurant called Little Dragon with an all-you-can eat buffet. Soon after, he opened multiple other concepts, including C-Fu Gourmet and a sports bar.
“I was like the Asian Forrest Gump,” Ron said. “After opening up these restaurants, I met a ton of celebrities and notable people without even knowing it. It was a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed owning the different restaurants.”
Creating the Crab
When an ongoing medical issue put Ron in and out of the hospital for a year, he had plenty of time to read up on recent food and restaurant trends.
“While I was resting at home, I came up with the idea to start a seafood restaurant,” Ron said. “Everyone is into spicy food, and I realized this would be a great opportunity to combine a seafood concept with Asian and Cajun spices and fare.”
Keeping Up with the Crab
Fast-forward to the present day, and Angry Crab Shack has seven locations throughout Arizona and began franchising in 2017. The average Angry Crab Shack restaurant’s current sales exceed $3.6 million.
Ron is still just as involved in the restaurant as he was when he first came up with the concept. Every day, he wakes up between 2:00 and 4:00 a.m., gets on his computer and checks to see what he needs to accomplish that day.
“My home is the restaurant,” Ron said. “I’ll regularly drive around 800 miles just to check up on the different locations and make sure they’re operating successfully, and that both the staff and guests are enjoying themselves. I like being very hands-on.”