Last week we visited ‘Lina’s Authentic Portuguese Kitchen’ in Salford where one of our customers, Lina, was launching her restaurant with a select group of special guests including friends, family, colleagues at Salford Shopping Centre and Darren Pond, Lina’s PeoplePlus Enterprise Business Advisor.
Lina’s journey with us started when she came to Darren with her business partner and the idea of running her own market stall providing authentic Portuguese food to the public. The plan started with Salford market, as a stall there would keep the costs of the business low while still giving Lina’s business visibility and a permanent base. However, the plan soon grew to a unit in Salford Shopping Centre when Darren tasted the food. He saw Lina’s drive and spirit to progress the business and advised her to look into renting a unit and opening her own kitchen. That’s exactly what she did, although it wasn’t easy. Lina’s business partner decided not to continue with the business and financial hurdles presented themselves in the form of applying for a loan, receiving the wrong equipment, expenditure doubling over time and yet, Lina charged on. Talking about this period of setbacks Darren said “She’s never given up, she’s never said that she can’t do this or wanted to give up. Everything she’s faced she’s overcome."
During the period of setting up the restaurant, Lina was enrolled onto our Enterprise Learning Plus programme meaning she was studying towards two qualifications – a Level 2 Certificate in Starting a Business and a Level 2 Award in Social Media; she has since passed both qualifications with us. Because of the hard work and dedication Lina has put into seeing the restaurant open and deliver mouth-watering food, she already has 4 members of staff in place adding to her existing skill-set as a qualified chef and is giving the shopping centre a taste of real authentic food. Salford Shopping Centre manager Nicholas Pitt told us ”Lina came to us asking for a market stall and it was clear her enthusiasm and drive demanded something far more permanent and branded. She has a vision and we bought into her, she has been an absolute pleasure to work with and worth every minute of our time.”
So what did the woman of the hour have to say about her journey? Lina – “When I went to the programme I didn’t know what to do. It gave me the courage and encouragement, the strength to create something for myself. Even though I’m doing my own thing, Darren is always ready to help, he made me believe things can happen. I was a single mum with 2 babies, a child at university and I didn’t get a job for a year. My business partner left and I said I wouldn’t give up, and here we are.”
And what a place to be… Lina’s Authentic Portuguese Kitchen produces a variety of dishes from pork meat alentejana to chicken breast stroganoff and seafood bites. Each dish is like a flavour explosion in your mouth but we’re bound to say that right? Don’t take our word for it, try for yourself!