Company Name: Los Andes
Year Founded: 2004
Industry: Food and Beverage
Location: Providence, RI
Creative Peruvian & Bolivian seafood & meat dishes, plus cocktails, in a relaxed, unassuming space.
What opportunity did you perceive in the marketplace that motivated you to start your business?
If an opportunity comes your ways take the chance because you won’t get too many in life. Do not be afraid believe in yourself, that is exactly what we did. We found a place that fitted our vision, had the right energy, and had the potential to start a journey that would last a life time. Never live life in regrets.
What realities did you face in the marketplace?
Sometimes different can be good, we had a unique product to offer in which we believed in. Like any beginning it is tough, we did not sit waiting for customers to come in and dine. We went out to find them. Doing several events and complimentary tastings, we were sure that once they experienced our culture that they would believe in what we do. We wanted people to feel the passion radiate from our unique cuisine, and have their taste buds blown away by our phenomenal spices, we did anything possible to show everyone what Los Andes was all about, and make them believers.
What are you sources of inspiration on a daily, frequent basis?
Ever since I can recall having memory, I looked up to my parents. My father’s presence was always felt and respected. I remember standing next to him as a child, and all I wanted was to obtain that same respect he had. He always found solutions, and never thought anything was impossible. He always found a way, to achieve anything he put his mind to. Anything that you do in life comes with obstacles, be prepared to break them and clear your own path.
What is your advice to aspiring entrepreneurs?
If you have a dream hold onto it, and do not let anybody discourage you. Life is about taking that chance, and there is only one way to find out. Give it your all and success will find you. It will not happen overnight, it will take sacrifice dedication and much needed love.
What information do you recommend entrepreneurs, in general, to integrate into their thinking? Do you have specific books or articles that you would recommend?
I read about people who have revolutionized industries; Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan, Bruce lee, and Gaston Acurio. All these people have a few things in common but the main one I would like to point out is nothing was given to them. They had a dream, which they fought for, and never gave up. “The only way to do great work is to, love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you will know when you find it” – Steve Jobs
Fear of failure was a challenge for me, when we opened Los Andes, I was 23 years old. I would talk to people in the industry, chefs, restaurant tours, etc. Most said that it would not work, that is was a “big risk”, because of both the location and type of cuisine. I believed in my dream and took the “big risk”, it was the best challenge the I could have ever taken upon. It taught me that nothing was easy and that everything is possible. Every day I learn something different about myself. I discovered a new strength that was within me, eventually out weighing my fears.
Uncovering Best Practices
To me culture is what we are made from. I was born in Bolivia and came to the United States in 1991, all my memories, smells, sounds and tastes of South America, I try to capture them and incorporate them into our business. To provide a unique dining experience from the second a guess steps into the restaurant, they will feel the passion, the recreated feeling of being in South America, with authentic ingredients and love, which is the recipe for success. With this being said, to be a successful entrepreneur the recipe for success if very simple, be passionate and love what you do.
We were voted the twenty-Third restaurant in the United States. To me this achievement opened many new doors in my career. It left a taste in my pallet of wanting to be number one. What makes me proud is knowing that a small restaurant in Providence, Rhode Island, operated by my family has been recognized through the efforts of my parents and siblings. As a family we will continue searching for a dream and fighting for success.