Restaurateur. Husband. Father. Christian. Those words describe Peter Demos. A word that describes him now is author.
Demos has a book on sale describing his journey to faith and how it factors into his personal and business decisions. The title is “Afraid to Trust: One Man’s Journey Into the Love of God.”
He is the president and CEO of Demos Brands and Peter D’s Seasonings. He also is the multi-generational owner of the Demos’ Restaurant chain. Combined, those companies employ more than 500 people. Demos shared some of his journey with the Hendersonville Standard.
While he attended church as a child, he “did not like Christians,” he said. Later in life, he continued to attend church but still did not like Christians, he said.
One sentence in his book says it perfectly, “Church and I never really got along.”
The reasons for this attitude are explained in his book.
A change of faith
He wrote that he committed to an altar call at church and soon after attended a May 2013 breakfast event led by Angus Buchan, a South African known for a book and movie titled, “Faith Like Potatoes.” Buchan challenged attendees over their faith — or lack of it — to God.
In the book, Demos describes his fateful decision to trust God with his life and how that began to change him.
He began to realize that his businesses were not his, but God’s, he told the Standard. The “things” he had depended on like friends were taken away as he became a devoted Christian. His marriage, which had been struggling, was restored as he learned to trust in God, he said.
Demos said that before becoming a Christian, he had to be in control of things. That is a struggle for many business people, he said. Business books tell you that is what you must do to succeed.
But over time, he said, he changed his company into one that is centered around God. His faith transformed the work atmosphere, thus changing many employees’ perceptions. They, in turn, have begun to list the company in job satisfaction rankings as being a good place to work, a reversal from previous rankings, he said.
“I learned fear is a horrible motivator,” Demos said. “When you’re afraid of something, you either become paralyzed or you do what I did, which is to release anger, rage. The opposite of fear is not courage; the opposite of fear is trust.”
He described the failure of Peter D’s restaurant in April 2018. He said he felt he had the perfect plan and had hired the best experts to design the building. However, the first Friday night it was open, the restaurant began experiencing problems as the kitchen’s average service time was 40 minutes. He said that the building was not laid out the way it was needed and equipment did not fit. The issues caused a great deal of anguish, he said.
“I didn’t even know what we were doing anymore,” he said.
That is when God led him to read Philippians 4:6: “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Demos said he realized he must overcome fear, be thankful and give God praise.
“Thanksgiving was my choice, not from a feeling,” he said.
Turning faith into action
Demos said he never thought of himself as an author or public speaker. The book grew out of his speaking engagements, which began shortly after becoming a born-again Christian when Living Sent Ministries learned of his faith and asked him to speak at an event. The more he spoke at events, the more that people said he should write his story. The book has been in the works for the past several years.
He said he hopes the book encourages people whose children are “far from Christianity and against it.” He said he also hopes it encourages business people and helps them realize the value Christ can bring to their business, help them get through hard times, and help them with their customers and employees.
Demos said that his faith is a part of his business dealings. The company has three chaplains on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week for employees, he said. One of his company’s goals for 2019 is to provide at least 20 bicycles for employees who do not have cars. He said he wants people “to see Christ reflected in what we do.”
Demos was asked to describe his experience as a multigenerational business owner and whether he feels any pressure to keep the company going.
He said, “There used to be a huge pressure on me, not from my father but from me.”
He said he felt that pressure because of his need for control and because of fear that he would fail. Once he began to follow Christ, he said, he realized the business was not the most important thing in life. Also, the failure of Peter D’s Restaurant taught him that no matter how smart he is, he cannot thwart God’s plan.
“He is the managing director of the business, so it’s not up to me to manage the legacy,” Demos said.
Where to buy:
“Afraid to Trust” is available from afraidtotrust.com and soon on Amazon and at Demo’s Restaurants.