MARYLAND (DC News Now) — Before there were more than 260 Cava restaurants, the Mediterranean meals were first offered at a restaurant in Rockville, Maryland.

Brett Schulman joined in as co-founder of the chain in 2010.

“My biggest lesson is that if it was that easy, everybody would be doing it. There was a stat that said today that 90 percent of startups fail, and it’s okay to fail. I think we’ve learned at Cava, so much from some of our failures along the way,” he told DC News Now.

The chain has at least eight locations in the District, 19 in Maryland and 31 in Virginia.

Schulman shared advice with other entrepreneurs on the first day of DC Startup Week, a conference focusing on technology and how to build businesses.

Cava debuted on the New York Stock Exchange this summer.

“It certainly brought great awareness to what we’re doing, defining the Mediterranean category, which we think is the next large-scale cultural cuisine category,” he said.

As Schulman looked ahead to more projects, including building another manufacturing facility in Virginia, he also reflected on his journey in Montgomery County Public Schools.

“It’s been amazing to see how much the economy has broadened in this area, whether it’s technology, whether it’s biotech, whether it’s food and beverage or hospitality,” he said.

The University of Maryland alum, who once aspired to be an attorney, says finding a passion led him to his current destination.

“Really just passionate about being able to fulfill our mission, to bring heart health and humanity to food and to be able to do that through our Mediterranean cuisine,” he said.

DC Startup Week ends on Friday.

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