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How Santiago Perez Left Banking Behind to Launch an Incredibly Successful Restaurant Platform

Magdalena Munao | March 19, 2020 |


After leaving behind a career in banking at UBS, Santiago Perez determinedly set out to elevate the way entrepreneurs launch restaurants. With the debut of Cosme, his first restaurant in 2015, the Mexico City native broke into the business by challenging the traditional standard of restaurant launches.

With two successfully established New York restaurants, this year, restaurateur Santiago Perez is looking down the barrel at two more additions. As he prepares for the opening of another two of their blockbuster restaurants, one might be surprised to learn that Perez never worked in a restaurant, nor did he study hospitality or the restaurant business.

“I came into the business constantly asking questions and looking for ways to challenge the common way to run a restaurant business,” Perez says.

While many restaurants structure their company around assembling a team that is qualified to serve the position, Perez finds it far more effective to hire based on personality and characteristic traits. With the company’s comprehensive future in mind with each of his hires, Perez begs the question, “How does this person fit into the overall plan for the company’s future?”

“We live by the motto, ‘Hire slow, fire fast,’” Perez says. “We take a lot of time and effort to choose the right people to attract and retain the right person.”

But redefining the way restaurateurs build a business is more than just changing the way he hires. With his goals explicitly focused on expansion, Perez is sure that all of his decisions contribute to developing his business on a national scale. After discovering a niche in the restaurant business, Perez’s restaurants all emanate the highest quality of Mexican cuisine in an upscale setting. From the dawn of his restaurant endeavors, Perez was certain to facilitate relationships with food suppliers in Mexico that would not only guarantee authenticity and quality, but also further serve him as he continues to open restaurants nationally.

“I think we’ve focused on building the right relationships with suppliers,” Perez says. “We’ve developed strong relationships with sources in Mexico that will help us expand.”

Even with his newest West Coast restaurants, Elio opening this March at the Wynn hotel in Las Vegas and Los Angeles restaurant Damian debuting later this year, Perez keeps his eye steady on the future and how he can continue to expand nationally. As he continues to flawlessly navigate the business with his industry leading and award winning restaurants, Perez looks ahead at a future filled with promise of more.

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