Rolling Out

Dennis McKinley believes he has the best food and alcohol brands in Atlanta

The entrepreneur is taking NYAK Cognac to the next level
Dennis McKinley believes he has the best food and alcohol brands in Atlanta
Photo courtesy of NYAK

Dennis McKinley is the owner of NYAK Cognac. NYAK is an affordable cognac that still provides the smooth taste customers want.

McKinley spoke with rolling out about NYAK, what led him to get into the food and beverage industry, and explained why it’s important to support Black businesses.

What does NYAK mean?

The culture calls Cognac “Yak,” which is also part of the reason for its success, and the first NYAK market was New York, so the “NY” is significant as well, merging them both together is how we got NYAK.

What led you to get into the food and beverage industry?

I’m a chef in real life. In addition to my culinary degree, I started off by completing the McDonald’s franchise training program. I’ve been franchising for 20 years, and I branched out with brands such as Subway, Little Caesars, and started several of my own brands, most currently CRU.

Tell us about your products.

I have the best cognac on the planet. NYAK is produced in France, our VS is aged for 24 months, and we recently introduced a variety of flavors, peach and cinnamon endorsed by Trina. Our master blender and another partner have been in the business for 50 years. NYAK  is about culture and it is second to none.

How can entrepreneurs win in the food and beverage industries?

First and foremost it’s about service and quality for your business to last. People make jokes about McDonald’s quality but they have consistent products and services. They will never go out of business. If you feel like you’re losing, go back to the basics. Find out if it’s the service or the products, and go from there. More than ever in the food and beverage space, everything has to represent the brand. It’s a brand alongside the product, and if something is missing go back.

How can we support Black businesses?

Be intentional, and seek out who has supported Black businesses through good and bad. Black businesses overcome hurdles from various disadvantages from economic, and cash to opportunity. We have to make an effort and conscious decision to have grace and be international. Being for the culture and being a Black owner, it’s very important to do business with people in the culture. People who eat, drink and sleep what they do, number one. This is why NYAK has partnered with different culture movers such as TNE Jaypee, Clay James, Trina, Erica Banks, Torica, Young M.A, and more to come.

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