What It's About
A side hustle with a lot to taco bout!
Words of Wisdom
Priscilla stressed the importance of authenticity with every dish she serves. “Add your originality and personality into everything you do.” She acknowledged how challenging the food industry is and how these factors have helped her when the chips are down.
But when asked if there was anything she’d do differently, Priscilla said, “I wouldn’t change a thing. Mistakes are good because you have an opportunity to learn from them.”
In his book, Planet Taco: A Global History of Mexican Food, Jeffery M. Pilcher, a history professor at the University of Minnesota, traced the origins of the humble taco back to silver mines in Mexico during the 18th century. In the mines, “taco” referred to the charges used to excavate ore, in the form of little pieces of paper they would wrap around gunpowder. The first “taco” references in an archive or dictionary were at the end of the 19th century and one of the first types of tacos was called "tacos de minero"—or miner’s tacos.
Notes from Chris
Episode 749Priscilla Curiel is no stranger to the food industry. Both her parents have been running classic Mexican restaurants in Tijuana for over 30 years. It’s part of her upbringing. A decade ago her family migrated north to Chula Vista, California, just across the border and near San Diego. They opened a restaurant called Talavera Azul. This combination of growing up in the business and jumping into work as a teenager gave her an insider’s glimpse into how the industry works. A few years later, she started her own part-time catering business. As a single mom, she needed extra income to pay the bills. The new business helped. It was only on the weekends, but it gave her a place to exercise her culinary creativity and bring in some extra cash. It also allowed Priscilla was also making connections with members of the local restaurant industry. She kept her startup costs low—just around $200 at first. This bought her enough for some basic ingredients and a table to prepare her food. At first, her catering brought in a few hundred dollars on the weekends. She kept at it, and by 2016, she was bringing in $10,000 on the side annually. Priscilla said she’d always save her money and reinvesting back into the business. She’s a firm believer in giving every dollar a job. Even as a single mom and working two jobs, she kept saving. Before long, she had saved $20,000. One day, she was selling her tacos outside a brewery when a customer liked them so much he agreed to help her set up her own brick and mortar restaurant. With the help of that perfect stranger and the money $20,000 she’d saved, Tuétano Taqueria was born. Tuétano Taqueria has only been open for four months but is achieving $1,000 a day in sales. Margins are tight, but she’s off to a great start. What’s next for Tuétano Taqueria? Priscilla would like to open a small chain of taquerias in her surrounding area and move her catering business under the umbrella of Tuétano. Her cooking has been described as “passionate, precise, soulful, and balanced.” It’s giving customers something to taco ‘bout.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Tuétano Taqueria: Learn more about what Priscilla is doing over on her Facebook page, and while you're at it, head on over to her Instagram page too!
- House Arrest Leads to $500,000 Food Truck and Catering Hustle: While serving time after a run-in with the law, one man and his cousin get creative in the kitchen, then launch a successful food truck, catering, and restaurant business in rural Pennsylvania
- British Pub Manager Bakes Pork Pies for Profit: A British pub manager has a creative idea for new pub food that he initially uses to help his boss but then realizes that it might be better for himself
- Crossfit Trainer Starts Meal Prep Service for Hungry Customers: A Crossfit trainer and her videographer partner create a healthy meal prep and delivery service, launching it with zero startup costs and growing to nearly $1m in 3 years
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