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From Apple to BBQ: Gen Xer's Mexican Restaurant Makes $9 Million in Sales

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Dan Defossey's Journey from Educator to Restaurateur in Mexico City

A Career Shift from Education to Opening a Restaurant

Dan Defossey, a former teacher and Head of Marketing in Education for Latin America at Apple, embarked on an unexpected career change when he decided to open a Texas-style BBQ restaurant in Mexico City with his friend and coworker, Roberto Luna. Despite their lack of experience in the restaurant industry, Defossey and Luna saw an opportunity to introduce a unique food category to the city and seized it.

Opening Pinche Gringo: A Unique Concept

In 2013, Defossey and Luna purchased an airstream in Texas and brought it back to Mexico City to serve as their first Pinche Gringo restaurant. They named it "Pinche Gringo," which means "Darn American," as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the idea of opening a BBQ restaurant in Mexico City. This name helped create a sense of humility and openness among their Mexican customers.

The Challenges and Successes of Pinche Gringo

At the beginning, Defossey and Luna faced challenges in making their BBQ restaurant successful. They spent hours giving out samples and explaining their meat to locals. Despite initially earning only $30 a day and receiving negative feedback about the taste of their food, they kept practicing and continuously improving. Eventually, Pinche Gringo gained recognition when a local reporter wrote a positive piece about it, leading to a consistent customer base.

The Growth of Groupo Chilango Gringo

Since opening the first Pinche Gringo restaurant, Dan Defossey and Roberto Luna have expanded their business into the Groupo Chilango Gringo. This restaurant group now owns and operates seven establishments, including sandwich shops, a bar, and the largest location, the Pinche Gringo BBQ warehouse, which can accommodate up to 3,000 people. In 2022, Groupo Chilango Gringo had a revenue of $159,121 USD and generated over $9 million USD in sales. The restaurant group currently employs 105 people and sells an impressive 15-20 metric tons of meat each month.

A Vision for the Future

Looking ahead, Defossey's goal for Groupo Chilango Gringo is to continue expanding while maintaining the positive and welcoming culture among their staff. He believes that the soul of their restaurants lies in their people and feels grateful to be living his dream every day. He sees his venture as a way to share his American culture with Mexico and give back to the country that has embraced him.

By transforming his own journey from politics to education to entrepreneurship in a foreign land, Dan Defossey proves that seizing opportunities and embracing unique concepts can lead to success.

Dan Defossey's Impactful Journey and its Implications for New Businesses

Breaking Barriers Through Unique Concepts

Dan Defossey's remarkable transition from educator to restaurateur in Mexico City showcases the power of embracing unconventional ideas in the business world. Despite lacking experience in the restaurant industry, Defossey recognized an untapped market and capitalized on it by introducing a Texas-style BBQ concept to the city. This bold move demonstrates that a novel and distinct offering can generate interest and carve out a niche, even in saturated industries.

Overcoming Challenges and Pursuing Growth

Defossey and his business partner, Roberto Luna, encountered numerous obstacles and setbacks in the early stages of their venture. However, through relentless perseverance, continuous improvement, and effective marketing, they overcame these hurdles and built a loyal customer base. Their success story serves as a valuable reminder to aspiring entrepreneurs that setbacks and initial struggle are often part of the journey towards eventual triumph.

Lessons for New Businesses

Dan Defossey's journey offers key takeaways for new businesses. Firstly, a unique concept can set a business apart from its competition and attract a dedicated customer base. Secondly, resilience and dedication are vital qualities for overcoming challenges and turning them into opportunities for growth. Lastly, fostering a positive and welcoming company culture can help create a strong foundation for expansion and long-term success.

Embracing Opportunities and Transforming Dreams into Reality

Through his journey, Defossey exemplifies the transformative power of seizing opportunities and pursuing one's dreams. His vision of sharing American culture with Mexico through his restaurants not only showcases his entrepreneurial spirit but also highlights the impact that cultural exchange can have on business success.

In conclusion, Dan Defossey's inspiring story serves as a reminder that with determination, innovation, and a willingness to embrace the unknown, new businesses can defy odds and achieve remarkable success. By challenging conventions and cultivating a strong company culture, entrepreneurs can navigate uncharted waters and make their mark on the business world.

Article First Published at: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/07/15/pinche-gringo-groupo-chilango-gringo-how-i-made-it.html

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