Downing Barber, an MBA graduate of the Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics and founder of the national restaurant franchise chain Barberitos, described his journey from cook to franchisor to a crowd gathered on Mercer’s Macon campus on Oct. 14.

Barber’s initial investment of $50,000 translated into a loss of $61,000 in his early years of operation. Now, 12 years later, he has 50 restaurants, with plans to grow to 100 around the U.S., with $40 million in revenue.