Everything you need to start a retro picnic spot

In 2010, Miguel Morales made the decision of a lifetime: he quit his job as a maintenance manager in a medical gases company to start a business. Papa Guapa opened one Diner type restaurant The company began operating in a loaned building in 2011 with two employees serving 30 guests per day, three active outlets and one in the process of moving, 16,000 consumers per month and 100 employees.

After his resignation, Miguel went on vacation to Germany, where he found a place with baked potatoes that he loved. Back in Mexico City, he perfected his idea of ​​a vintage restaurant based on baked potatoes: he began with the conception of the smutty with the image of a beautiful and sexy potato; He then set up a “test lab” at home to develop the letter and set up a support network.

“My friend Uriel Valdez, owner of La Cupcakería, made it possible for me to start by lending me his premises in the Zona Rosa. They were sold during the day Cupcakes and at night, from Thursday to Sunday, stuffed potatoes, ”explains Miguel.

Everything you need to start a retro picnic spot
Everything you need to start a retro picnic spot

In the beginning, Miguel and his dad Guapa faced several challenges. One of them took place at an electronic music festival where he sold one of the 500 potatoes he had projected. other than the poor choice of a partner with a view to opening his first office in Querétaro, causing him to lose time and money.

Today, however, Papa Guapa is spearheading a wave of retro restaurants, the concept of which stems from American decoration, music, and fashion trends of the 50s and 60s. Most of these places have menus that specialize in hamburgers, french fries, and milkshakes.

If you are interested in participating in this sector. Make a business plan and find your differentiator. Remember that while there is room for new players, it is best to offer customer experiences.

Consumer profile

Generally these guests belong to a socio-economic level A / B, C and C + and are willing to pay a personal ticket between 150 and 180 pesos for a package. “Our customers cover a very broad spectrum: from complete families and couples to young people, adults and children,” explains Jonathan Picard, founding partner of El Merendero, one of the guests with the longest tradition and offices in Condesa, San Ángel. Coyoacán, Tlalpan and Del Valle.

How many guests are there in Mexico? The exact dates are not available. It is known that, according to the 2014 economic census by the National Institute for Statistics and Geography (INEGI), gastronomy comprises 452,000 economic units and employs 1.5 million people. In addition, it has a share of 1% in the national gross domestic product (GDP).

The global study Food trends outside the homeAccording to Nielsen, four in ten Mexicans eat outside the home once or twice a week, 58% of whom do so at lunchtime. Fast food restaurants and cafes are some of the most popular establishments.

Values ​​added

The offer is so extensive that it is necessary to stand out from the competition, be it because of the ingredients or the method of preparation or even the setting and service. One example is Parker Lenox, a hybrid venue in Colonia Juárez, Mexico City, where Lenox acts as a diner that serves as a passageway to Parker, which doubles as a bar / forum where martinis are served and jazz is heard. To this

Another point of reference is the case of Candy Blue, whose branch of Colonia Clavería in Mexico City has a gang of Rockabilly From thursday to sunday.

You can also make your own hamburger bun and keep it ready for your customers. The exposed oven can even be part of the culinary appeal. Create special or themed menus, make your own meat mixes and why not? Do you have a dessert bar Smoothies and milkshakes with direct access to passers-by. Another option is decoration: you can opt for the traditional see and feel that reminds of the wonderful years (50 and 60) or sets your personal stamp with your own design and your own atmosphere.

“My concept has evolved over the years. I like to surprise customers. When I started out (on Orizaba Street in Mexico City) the note was a lunch box mixed with a dinner. The Oaxaca branch is stylish art deco and in Colonia del Valle it has a 1930s style. The Satélite branch was founded in the 1960s with a concept aligned with the wave of (the cartoon) Los Supersónicos, which we will be relocating shortly, ”explains Miguel de Papa Guapa.

Relationship with customers

Without a doubt, one of the most important factors in the success of this business is the relationships that are built with customers in order to retain and attract more existing customers. For example, if you want to create brand loyalty and awareness, the first thing to do is act flawlessly. In daily contact, he tries to ensure that the employees in the relationship always have a smile and the appropriate training on-line, Make sure you offer confidence, security, and immediacy.

You need to be on social media. On Facebook, take advantage of the fact that guests seek opinions and share experiences to post promotions and arts referencing the brand. Rock everything from pools to waiter dances on Instagram and Pinterest to liven up the day. Upload small clips to YouTube showing how to prepare a particular meal and post on Twitter for the day’s news or related topics Trending topics.

Distribution channels

Once the form of the customer relationship has been defined, plan the main sales channels: a) Sales on site, b) Telephone orders with our own delivery service or c) via a platform from Delivery like Uber Eats or Rappi.

consumption on site It favors the elimination of additional costs and helps in positioning the brand. Shipping with your own staff, on the other hand, can result in additional costs, e.g. B. Hiring a delivery person and investing in means of transport (motorcycles or bicycles) and delivery platforms Delivery They charge the company a percentage of the total ticket.

“These platforms are a different form of selling. In the end, it’s an opportunity for the public to get to know you. Rappi charges you 25% and Uber Eats 28% of the total bill, but it’s a distribution channel. I prefer to reduce my utility and people to know me, ”says Carlos Chávez, creator of Candy Blue, a diner with two establishments (Roma and Clavería).

Regardless of the options you choose, you will have to respond to the demands of speed. To this end, very precise operational processes are established for both the preparation of meals and the receipt of orders on site, online or by phone) as well as for delivery by creating guidelines. Remember that the quality of your service needs to be seen from start to finish.

Running a restaurant requires the use of a variety of physical, technical, and human resources that form the foundation of its operation, facilitate delivery of the value proposition, and help meet business objectives.

Initially, 120 square meters of commercial space with facilities for carrying out renovations and installing gas and electricity are required. It should be distributed at the reception, at the cash register, in the sales area, in the kitchen, in the office and in the warehouse. It is ideal that it is surrounded by communication routes and has parking (or an arrangement with one nearby) to better serve your customers.

The number of employees depends on the size of the restaurant and the complexity of its operation. While Candy Blue has six employees, Parker Lenox employs 40, Papa Guapa 100 and El meredero 150.

The workforce can grow due to the influx. For example, you can hire additional staff by the hour on weekends when there is more activity Outsourcing. This guarantees that the operation will be carried out promptly and that your customers will have the service they deserve.

Which positions should you fill? The most important one is that of a head chef who, in addition to the cashier and a manager, also has kitchen assistants, waiters and floor assistants. To attract this staff, you can contact the National Chamber of the Restaurant and Experienced Food Industry, which offers the service of Jobbank with trained staff for its subsidiaries.

Sources of income

In a diner, the flow of income comes from the commercialization of products, so you need to achieve a comprehensive concept that draws in guests based on the concept and experience of the place on the one hand, and through its cuisine on the other.

For example, Merendero has 14 types of hamburgers, milkshakes, Smoothies, Ice cream as well as wings, chicken fingers, potatoes, nachos, salads, soups and some main dishes. For breakfast it offers juices, fruits, hot cakes, waffles, Eggs and specialties like croque madame.

“Our specialties are hamburgers and milkshakes. We offer quality, reasonable portions and very affordable prices. The average ticket is 160 pesos and includes fries and hamburgers. One milkshake can reach up to 180 pesos, ”says Jonathan Picard, partner at Merendero.

Papa Guapa meanwhile offers a menu with 16 baked potatoes, which are named in a unique way: Papa Félix with Pico de Gallo, flank steak with cheese and avocado; Papa Monroe stuffed with shrimp and cheese; the Anderson papamela with prawns a la diabla and cheese.

“An average ticket costs 180 pesos. enough for a potato, a drink and a dessert. All of our ingredients are natural: we use the best meat and cheese and in generous portions. We have a kitchen and a head office. In the kitchen we prepare the sauces, marinades and dressings. We do this to standardize the taste, ”explains Miguel Morales, who developed this concept.

At Parker Lenox, for their part, they have developed a program that, in addition to income from the sale of traditional hamburgers and other American dishes such as pea soup and Pork belly, Increases tickets for the bar where you can enjoy cocktails while listening to jazz.

“Although hamburgers are very accepted, people in Mexico don’t know that the United States has a great gastronomic culture. Without a doubt, you have to evangelize the market and be patient, ”explains Ricardo Franco, inventor of the Parker Lenox concept.

Start like these entrepreneurs and maintain a steady stream of income. Merendero, for example, is committed to strengthening the loyalty of its guests. “We do different things all the time: from birthday campaigns to a challenge where anyone who eats more than 15 hamburgers doesn’t pay the bill. We also have the dance challenge with the theme pulp Fiction: We gave the couple who danced the best a couple of milkshakes, ”says Jonathan Picard from El Merendero.


Diner-type restaurants can enter into various types of strategic alliances or agreements. Go to the HR departments of companies and offer their employees discounts or special offers. We also recommend making such agreements with universities, high schools and high schools in order to attract young clients.

Likewise, you can look for brands that tie in with the retro wave and use your diner as a trigger for events they propose, or vice versa, to bring your culinary offerings to a massive event that calls the event aim you want to achieve.

Another idea to attract customers and create fun moments is to organize dance competitions in the purest style of Rockabilly. To do this, you can make an agreement with schools or teachers of the genre. The idea is that they have a class in place, that they offer the parishioners special discounts. You can also do the opposite: go to schools or places where music lovers from the 50s and 60s come together for special discounts.

Key activities

The daily operation of a restaurant requires strict monitoring of various processes in the warehouse, kitchen and sales area. Ideally, the entrepreneur knows how the individual areas work and sets standards.

In this sense, the warehouse has an important value as it is the heart of the restaurant’s supply. It is therefore advisable to manage it as part of the FIFO system (first entries, first exits) in order to guarantee fresh food and to limit losses due to product problems as much as possible. expired.

How often should you stock up? That depends on the movement that the restaurant is registering. When the demand is high, you can buy the perishable goods every day or every other day. You can also stock up every week, although you run the risk of some products losing freshness. Groceries can be delivered every 15 days or every month.

“I try to network with independent providers. For example, bread makes me a gourmet. Many things are brought to me, but what I leave in the hands of others for no reason is the choice of meat because the quality of the ingredients is my differentiator. Personally, I like to go and choose it, ”says Carlos Chávez, owner of Candy Blue.

In the kitchen, there are also key processes related to the preparation, preservation and even disposal of leftover food. In this context, it is advisable to create process manuals with the help of the area manager. This serves as a guide for employees to understand their responsibilities and what to do to improve operations.

Take care of the activities that are taking place on the sales floor at the same time, as this is where your main judge and the consumer are located at the same time. First of all, make sure that your employees have a service attitude and that their presentation aligns with the concept of the place. The idea is that they help enrich the customer experience with their image.

Cost structure

To open the curtain on a restaurant, you need six months of working capital and equip it with furniture (vintage or new) that reflect the spirit of the 50s and 60s. The sales area requires a bar with eight high benches, six cabinets and seven tables, each with four chairs and three high chairs for babies.

The kitchen needs an industrial oven, frying pan, microwave, deep fryer, mixer, food processor, stainless steel work table, refrigerators and various utensils (pots, pans, knives, spoons, etc.). You will also need glassware, crockery and cutlery and a smoke vent.

You can buy floor furniture from specialist dealers or have it made to measure, while kitchen appliances are sold by brands like SanSon and ToroRey. The cost depends on several factors. For example, if you choose something second-hand, give it a try and do a cost-benefit analysis.

As you can see, a diner type restaurant is an ideal business to show off your creativity. Start with the whole setting! Get trained and listen to the advice of the experts.

Similar Posts