Hard Work and Mexico City Flavor: Recipe For U.S. Success
By Victor Escalante
Pedro Gonzales is an immigrant entrepreneur from Mexico City with an MBA from the school of hard knocks, “the street.” Every day his mother would send him to sell tamales and to learn the art of direct sales in the largest metropolitan city “in the world.” This broad experience has given him a sixth sense for business. He has strategically opened five restaurants in Houston in neighborhoods with a large immigrant population.
His tamales have a distinctive Mexico City flavor but their size is very Texan.
The stories of successful street vendors are numerous and full of drama and paradoxes. One of these is micro managing and control. Their expensive and painful lessons learned through trial and error are difficult to overcome. They have difficulty hiring professional managers after the start up phase of rapid growth.
He has carved out his portion of the American Dream in the petro-metro with his unique family recipe and his determination to succeed.
Every day he makes the rounds of all his properties to insure that every tamal meets his deceased mother’s taste test. At dawn, Houstonian tradespeople and medical personnel are treated at six in the morning to steaming tamales with café de la olla to start their day.
He is so passionate about his upscale “puestos” that he wants to become the Mexican Colonel Sanders of tamales.
As farfetched as it sounds, he could pull it off someday. Some large chains have shown an interest in carrying his brand and subletting for a micro Tamales Dona Tere.
Pedro has seventeen types of tamales to satisfy the most discriminating Latino taste buds. In fact, some flavors are sold out for the day by lunch time. If you want to be transported to a chilly morning in Mexico City, then you must have some tamales with atole. You are guaranteed your money’s worth, not atole con un dedo.
[Photo by Victor Escalante]