How a fast-paced entrepreneur struggled to grow during the pandemic

Sofia Deleon had only one location of her Philadelphia-based fast casual El Merkury open early in the pandemic. All growth impetus for the Central American concept, which serves pupusas, tostadas, taquitos and churros, has suddenly disappeared.

But Deleon did not back down from the fight. The entrepreneur got rowdy and creative as she tackled challenge after challenge, and not only did she open a second location in the midst of the pandemic, she also plans to expand into smaller locations around the Philadelphia area.

Deleon took part in the latest episode of Take-Away with Sam Oches to share how she has overcome various challenges including work, supply chain and inflation. In this interview, you will learn why:

  • Find common ground with your customers when the menu is new to them
  • In this off-premises world, it pays to make your menu more travel-friendly
  • A commission model could help spur growth, especially in locations with a small footprint
  • Everyone raises prices, and your customers will probably forgive you
  • Unique store extensions can be great promotional posters for growth

Contact Sam Oches at [email protected]

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