- In our new series of interviews we are looking to interview and get to know local Bermudian business owners and entrepreneurs. They can be just starting or been in business for years, but we want to get to know what got them started and what has made them successful.The goal is to help the community get to know the great people behind the businesses people see and use every day, and to hopefully inspire anyone to start their own business some day....
How did the idea for your business come about?
Mr Richard Phillips and Ms Sandy Rodrigues: We noticed a lack of dining options for the Portuguese community, and thought this would set us aside within the Food and Beverage sector, on the island. We are a new concept to the island…a Portuguese Cafe and Churrasqueira in one.
What is the significant difference your business brings to the market?
Mr Richard Phillips and Ms Sandy Rodrigues: We are the only Portuguese cooked-to-order Restaurant, as well as the only ethnic food truck, and also the only Portuguese Churrasqueira in Bermuda. We are NOT your average food truck!
How did you decide on the location for your business?
Mr Richard Phillips and Ms Sandy Rodrigues: We are located in a quaint setting, with high traffic flow, at the Bermuda Golf Academy in Southampton. We chose this location because it enabled us to provide amenities that no other food truck offers: activities on property, an assortment of seating options including a gazebo covered sports lounge with dart boards and large screen tv’s, with comfy couches and diner style seating. Truly unique!
How important have good employees been to your success?
Mr Richard Phillips and Ms Sandy Rodrigues: We have been in the service field our entire careers, and therefore can confidently say, it is a major key to the success of any business. When your staff are happy, coming to work is not a chore, and that is reflected in their attitude, which is apparent to the customer.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Mr Richard Phillips and Ms Sandy Rodrigues: The most satisfying moment was our first day of business on November 8th. The community support has been incredible! It’s a great feeling to know that customers are supportive and anxious to come to eat at our establishment!
Describe/outline your typical day?
Mr Richard Phillips and Ms Sandy Rodrigues: At this time we are starting off with reduced service hours: Tuesday to Saturday 11-3pm for lunch, and 6-10pm for dinner, Sundays 11-7pm. However, due to the nature of the food business, a lot of behind the scenes preparations must take place before service can begin. Therefore, we work seven days a week, 10-12 hour days.
What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Mr Richard Phillips and Ms Sandy Rodrigues: We had started our social media presence quite some time ago, but have just finalized our flyers, brochures, and signage. Our main marketing is actually our food truck, which is very different from any food truck on the island. The entire truck was vinyled to reflect our food, attention to detail, and has been a major focal point in our marketing. Each time it moves, we are inundated with calls and messages, our social media likes blow up, and people come by the Industrial Park Road location just to look at it! Thank you Cosmic Designs, and Bermuda Blue Printing for their wonderful work.
How do you build a successful customer base?
Customer service is the most important part of any business. By treating each customer with dignity and respect, ensuring they get value for their hard earned money, and providing an outstanding product. It’s a very simple concept.
What kind of culture exists in your organization?
Mr Richard Phillips and Ms Sandy Rodrigues: “The Portuguese spirit believes that mealtimes are sacred. A time for family and friends.”
This idea works both for us at home, and at work. It is what we believe and who we are. Our business culture is akin to our Portuguese-Bermudian culture. We believe in family mealtimes and community support, that’s why we offer Family Platter Take-out Specials, and insist on supporting our local farmers and fishermen.
Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
We admire all the small businesses whose customer service standards are similar to ours, such as: Krystal Klear Bermuda, The Pastry Shop, and Bolero. But, we also admire some large companies who have not lost their pride or standards as they have grown, and continuously strive to ensure customer service standards are immaculate, such as Bermuda Cleaning Company and Livio Ferigo’s Group of Restaurants, and many more.
Where you see yourself and your business in 10 years? 20 years?
Mr Richard Phillips and Ms Sandy Rodrigues: In the next five years we intend to have a set location, and move our truck to a park location. After that we intend to start our wholesale venture of offering locally made Portuguese deli products, and delicacies. We have already had interest in our home-made chorizos, cheeses and pastries however we have not been able to keep up with the demand, while preparing our food truck venture.
Describe your business in three words…
Mr Richard Phillips and Ms Sandy Rodrigues: That is very difficult. Our motto is “Vovo’s recipes…Cooked with Love” -that’s five words!
I’ll go with the concept: Affordable, Traditional, Wholesome
We want to thank Mr Richard Phillips and Ms Sandy Rodrigues for taking the time to answer our questions! You can contact at [email protected]
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