Freshly’s Founder Ditched Wall Street to Start a Restaurant in Arizona With His Parents. It Failed, But He Pivoted to Build a $1.5 Billion Business.

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This article was updated on September 15, 2021

In Arizona, it’s legal for children to work at a young age if their family owns the business — a law that stems back to old farming — so Michael Wystrach and his twin brother started working at their parents’ restaurant when they were 10 years old. At first, it was because they begged to get in on the action. “And,” Wystrach says, “it quickly went from begging to being told that we were working from that point on.” He started as a busboy, then worked “every role imaginable” until he was legally allowed to wait tables at 19. It was how he earned spending cash throughout college. 


The 41-year-old founder of meal-delivery service Freshly was raised on a small ranch in Southern Arizona. He and his twin were the youngest of six children. His mother was the rancher, the first woman named Cattleman of the Year in Arizona, and his father was a Marine Corps aviator before he tried his hand at real estate development, which ultimately led to the start of several small businesses: primarily gas stations, hotels and restaurants. 

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