We do not have the latest shiny object or new high-tech gizmo to pitch to the market like many other entrants in this ‘Poop to Gold Giveaway’. Our industry was one of those hardest hit during this pandemic. Adding insult to injury, hopes of The American Dream have died. Many local and national brands are going out of business.
We are a Mom and Pop pizza restaurant, a staple to our neighborhood, providing local employment and healthy hot meals for families in our neighborhood. It’s a place where we know everyone’s name, friends and families congregate for dinner, and strangers become friends.
Almost twenty years ago we migrated from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean; leaving behind a thriving printing company in search of a better life for our children. Trinidad being a transshipment point for illegal Columbian drugs created a social climate that would have made us prime targets for kidnapping and extortion.
Through a series of providential events, we were blessed with this pizza restaurant and were welcomed into the community by most; we thrived.
Having grown up in the Islands of the Caribbean, cooking is in our DNA. We’ve experienced diverse flavors and cultural influences from Europe, India, Africa, China, and the Middle East. We brought our A-game and it began to pay off. Then in 2008, the housing market crashed and overnight we lost 40% of our revenue. We doubled down, worked eighteen hour days, read marketing books, rebranded, and added social media as each new platform launched. Success! Year over year customers and sales increased.
Based on a number of serendipitous events, we took our success to a new location in Jupiter, Florida. This time we were able to afford an Ad Agency to assist with our launch and social media campaign. They failed! Their strategies, data, and A.I. did not help us move the needle. Maybe we were a bit naive to think this location would be successful within twelve to eighteen months. We hired a second agency, they did some good work but soon we fell through the cracks as higher-paying luxury brands became their focus. At this point we decided to learn for ourselves again. We enrolled in Harmon Brothers University and ClickFunnels. We hired our third agency to focus on SEO and back-linking. It seemed to be helping, then Covid-19 struck!
Take-out and delivery cannot fill the void. Even at 25% seating, the customers are still not returning and many are not back to work either. Unsure what our new normal will be or how long economic recovery will take, we have decided to pivot. Many businesses before us had to adapt and innovate (Xerox, 7-11, and Tiffany). They each adjusted the focus of their business to survive the changing economy or trends that would have made them obsolete.
At the restaurants, we make our own pasta, pizza, alfredo, and wing sauces, as well as dressings; all of which are unique to us. Our customers have enjoyed and purchased these for many years. A desire had been running through my heart since back in Trinidad. I had corresponded with Heinz and began preliminary discussions about developing a Caribbean line of sauces, then we migrated to the USA and the dream was pushed behind, as we focused on earning a living in a new country.
We recently revisited this dream by launching a line of sauces for retail sale. This would include our homemade sauces plus the Caribbean-styled sauces and condiments. This will provide more employment in our neighborhood, utilize fresh produce such as tomatoes, peppers, oranges, and honey all sourced from our local farmers. We will also purchase spices and raw materials like cocoa, nutmeg, allspice, molasses, etc. from small farm cooperatives in the Caribbean Islands. This will add to the islands’ GDP and help change the quality of life for families in these developing nations.
With this venture we hope to draw notoriety to our restaurant brand and re-engineer it for success in the Post-Pandemic America. We know with the help of The Harmon Brothers team we can attain this dream.
Benton and Daniel we may not be your ‘Ideal Client’, even if we don’t make your final cut, we do pray that you’ll find a way to join forces with us to make this dream reality for many like us.