Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Tore Trupiano, CEO of Mangia e Bevi, located in Oceanside, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Mangia e Bevi is a truly authentic Italian restaurant. The menu was inspired by my grandmother and mother. The same dishes that were prepared for me as a child are now recreated for you to enjoy. Mangia e Bevi provides you with the same cuisine as if you were sitting at a sidewalk cafe in Italy.
Tell us about yourself
As a young boy, I grew up in Monroe, MI, just south of Detroit, a son of Italian immigrant parents. One of my fondest memories was the sights and smells of my mother and grandmother making fresh bread. Like most Italian immigrants, My grandmother and mother made their own bread for the family dinner table. I never lost sight of family traditions. I learned to always use the best and freshest ingredients. This same passion serves as the foundation and guiding mission of Mangia e Bevi today. It is our goal to produce food of exceptional quality using only the best and freshest ingredients.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
2016 brought the biggest accomplishment yet, representing the United States of America as part of the U.S. Pizza Team. The Groupon U.S. Pizza Team was founded in 2000 with the goal of bringing competition and excitement to the pizza industry. Since its formation, the Pizza Team has participated in an international event every year, most frequently at the World Pizza Championship in Parma, Italy.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Mangia e Bevi, a California-based Italian restaurant, completely pivoted its business during the coronavirus pandemic. After receiving an email from my son's school stating that the lunch program was being suspended because there was no longer in-school learning. I called the districts to let them know we would feed the kids. We were closed, and I had fresh products to use. The schools never responded, but a substance recovery house and a senior center did respond. We were able to provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner to those in need. There wasn't much revenue generated, but needs were being met, and we were able to keep the lights on. During the shutdown, the restaurant owners and staff redirected all their efforts to feed seniors in need through local restaurants. The Italian food restaurant is part of California's Great Plates Delivered program, which allows seniors at high risk from COVID-19 access to warm, healthy, home-cooked food in their dining room – where they might otherwise go without.
I am a veteran in the restaurant industry. Once the pandemic hit and the lockdowns started, I felt the need to reach out and do something for the community. Along with other business owners and restaurant operators, I joined the Great Plates Delivered initiative, which offers high-end food service to at-risk seniors who have had to start social distancing. In the beginning, with only 40 delivery orders, the workload wasn't tough to handle – my business partner and I would complete the food deliveries in an hour. But, as more seniors signed up for the program, the number of orders began to grow exponentially. Within a few short months, they were delivering close to 500 meals a day and hiring 30 additional drivers. Upon joining the initiative, another hurdle we had to overcome was accounting for the handful of seniors with dietary restrictions. I needed to be sure my drivers knew exactly when the special meals were needed and matched these to delivery addresses, and the customers' dietary needs were easily met. "The process is like ordering online. The seniors sign up either via text message or email, and they know when their food leaves the restaurant, where their drivers at, and the estimated time of arrival. And that's just been something that they absolutely love – it gives them a part of their day to look forward to."
Mangia was able to help Genentech as well. As you know, so many pharmaceutical companies were racing to make a vaccine for COVID-19. Genentech went to a 7-day-a-week work week. Even though they had a cafeteria program, it only operated Monday through Friday. Mangia was able to provide hot, individually packed meals for the employees of Genentech for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Even though the last contract ended in March of 2022, Mangia will continue to look for opportunities to help the community and to give back whenever we can. Mangia e Bevi was opened in October of 2018. Just as we were starting to hit our stride, Mangia was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mangia was never able to set up our workspace with the proper equipment needed to operate. New equipment would enable us to be better prepared and be better set up to handle what our customers need from us.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- I never lost sight of family traditions. I learned to always use the best and freshest ingredients. This same passion serves as the foundation and guiding mission of Mangia e Bevi today. It is our goal to produce food of exceptional quality using only the best and freshest ingredients.
- Stay true to who you are and stay on course.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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