In the first session, chef Iván Ikra Salicrú coordinated a study to determine the price of several dishes, based on estimates of the fixed and variable expenses required by each dish. He also explained the importance of considering contextual issues such as location and the socioeconomic profile of potential clients when determining costs and supply issues.
During the second session of the Support Program for the Management of Food Businesses, Jorge Lestrade and Rogelio Vázquez spoke to participants about the importance of image design in a business and about the possibilities offered by the context to have a clear identity that is related to their own context.
Lestrade started by talking about Enrique Olvera’s project and the Pujol restaurant, as a study case to understand how the use of the context helps defining the identity of a establishment. To reinforce this idea, Rogelio Vázquez emphasized that the graphic identity, the consistency in the space, and decoration play a vital role to reinforce and clearly communicate the businesses goal.
Lestrade underlined the importance of identifying existing tensions between the owners’ interests and those of the context in order to reach a synthesis that may be the basis for a successful business model.
Then Vázquez gave examples of different types of restaurants and coordinated a collective analysis to reveal the consistency between the business proposal and the visual projection, emphasizing the key role played by the visual image to make a clear statement about the business owner’s specific taste.
Lula Martín del Campo—Lulachef—coordinated the third session of the Support Program for the Management of Food Businesses, which focused on the importance of maintaining consistent recipes and their cost to improve the business’ productivity. During this talk, and in response to the group’s interest, some other ideas were addressed concerning how to contribute to stabilizing businesses.
Lulachef coordinated an introduction dynamic to learn about one another’s business profiles. Based on this initial exchange, the session then focused on learning from failures. The group was also interested in talking about ways to balance productive relations between family members and other business partners.
Another topic was centered on concepts of microfinance and the importance of accounting to achieve real productivity. Lula taught how to determine the average check, the method to accurately estimate the cost of a recipe (materials, fixed and variable costs), and the analysis of that data to control the business flow. The session ended with participants suggesting a meeting at Casa Gallina to exchange information about providers and to explore the possibility of buying in bulk to get better prices in some products needed by all, thus increasing their income while preserving quality.
During the fourth session of the Support Program for the Management of Food Businesses, Ilse and Ezra Aguilar, owners of Bó Pastisseria, used their own experience changing careers as a practical case, shared the challenges they confronted in their everyday practice with no special schooling about the field, and what they had to learn to consolidate their business.
Most of the participants in the program share a similar experience with the Aguilar sisters, either because they modified their careers or changed jobs and fields of expertise or because they started a business with no previous studies or experience in the field. The Aguilar sisters mentioned that, in their experience, of upmost importance in preserving the stability of a business in the adversities of any context was strategic thinking based on generating working habits that were geared toward realistic and measurable objectives, while considering production deadlines. Ilse and Ezra coordinated a practical exercise to help participants reinforce those notions.
During the fifth session, Alejandro Souza, entrepreneur who directs Pixza, a supportive gastronomy project, spoke to neighbors and business owners from the barrio about the importance of balancing social responsibility with financial success and how to achieve this in a food business. Based on his personal experience, Souza introduced a methodology that considers work as an empowerment tool in marginalized conditions. Such methodology, he said, may be adapted to businesses with different socioeconomic profiles. At the end, participants expressed their concerns, and they developed ideas about including supportive actions in their businesses.
The sixth session of the Food Business Management Program was focused on street food vendors who have diversified their strategies in an attempt to improve their interaction with clients. Los Loosers and Tizne Tacomotora, coordinators of similar projects, were invited to speak to business owners and neighbors in the barrio. They explained their strategies and working methods, emphasizing the benefits of social media, the value of word of mouth, the need to offer an attractive product, and the improvement of food delivery. During the session, participants were especially interested in learning the use of social media as a vehicle for clients to order food.