From tending bar to selling falafel

blue collar entrepreneurs scott bennett

After bartending for 25 years and being "knocked around" in factory jobs before that, Scott Bennett was ready to work for himself.

He just needed the right concept. "All I knew was that it would have to be in the restaurant business because that's what I really enjoyed," he said.

Inspiration struck when Bennett and his wife, Arianne, visited Amsterdam in 2002.

They both fell in love with the city and the falafel shops there.

Convinced that D.C.'s trendy neighborhoods were in need of such a shop, Bennett got the ball rolling.

He wrote a business plan, secured a small business loan, used $50,000 of his own money, and tapped family and friends to raise $375,000 in startup capital.

Amsterdam FalafelShop opened in 2004 in Adams Morgan. Bennett quickly franchised the business: There are four other locations on the East Coast and another four set to open this year.

First published February 10, 2015: 9:30 AM ET

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