Going From Big Pharma To Farm-Fresh

By Suzette Parmley
The Philadelphia Inquirer

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) This story takes a look at entrepreneur Deb Lutz who left her high paying job at Johnson and Johnson to become a franchise owner of a healthy, fast-casual restaurant called “B.Good.” As you will see, the motivation for opening the eatery goes far beyond the desire to be her own boss.

The Philadelphia Inquirer

Deb Lutz was making a high-six-figure salary at Johnson & Johnson as vice president of marketing just three years ago.

But her entrepreneurial spirit (she bought and sold professional baseball cards to help pay her way through Wharton undergrad, Class of 1991) and her other life as a foodie got the best of her.

She ditched corporate America and went for a fresh start.

Two years ago, at age 45, she opened a b.good franchise — a healthy, fast-casual restaurant that serves in-house-ground burgers, vegetable/fruit smoothies, and other fresh dishes in Marlton.

She opened two more in Mount Laurel and Wynnewood over the last year, and a fourth last week at the King of Prussia Town Center. The four restaurants employ 85.

Lutz’s involvement in b.good and the healthy food movement is also deeply personal, and grew out of the challenges of caring for her daughter.

Isabel Lutz was diagnosed five months after birth with Prader-Willi syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that affects one in 12,000 newborns.

Prader-Willi syndrome, PWS for short, is named after Swiss pediatricians Andrea Prader and Heinrich Willi, who first diagnosed it in 1956.

Those with the disease exhibit an insatiable appetite and can literally eat themselves to death.

“They eat nonstop. At a buffet, they’ll keep going,” Lutz said. “The regulator in the brain that tells you when you’re full is basically broken.”

Lutz and husband Rob, who co-enrolled with her as one of three married couples in the MBA program at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in 1995, reconfigured the kitchen in their Bryn Mawr home. All of the food and a refrigerator were behind a locked pantry door. This started when Isabel was 2.

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