Pop Quiz, Monday with Andre Arriaza

We started running tours in 2016 on our own. Nowadays we have five people working with us and a successful rate of 99% of happy clients.

Andre Arriaza

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Andre Arriaza

Andre Arriaza
Photo credit: Andre Arriaza

What is your job role?
I am the CEO and everything else required by the company.

Tell us about your company?
Barcelona Eat Local is a family run business that I founded with my partner to be a referent of local gastronomy in the city and the surrounding region ~ we explore local culture through food and bring travelers closer to its culture and delicious tasting. In short, we organize experiences around food, culture, and locals.

We started running tours in 2016 on our own. Nowadays we have five people working with us and a successful rate of 99% of happy clients.

What do you love most about your job?
Food connects people, it is an excellent subject of conversation, and most of my days I am in between travelers who want to taste local cuisine and passionate restaurateurs and winemakers who love what they do. I like being in that environment, and connecting those people.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
One of the guiding principles for us is to work only with family-owned businesses, most of them are on 3rd to 6th generation. One of our partners is a woman who has a fish stall in one of Barcelona Markets, when we do our planning for tours the day before, at 4.45 am she reply to us indicating that everything will be ready and tasty, always with a big smile.

Working with such committed people is excellent, and gives an enormous motivation. As well, I get motivated merely because I love gastronomy in general, and I always get passionate about it.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
We a diverse team, concerning nationalities and backgrounds. This is inspiring as everyone brings a unique perspective, and points of view, which is helpful at times when you need to make critical decisions as they have insights that sometimes are unknown to us.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
Good question! I think we do that (or at least we try) all the time. As we provide culinary experiences to travelers, we are not altogether on a day to day basis. Our guides are the ones that have the most fun with the groups, we are always in touch via smartphones, sharing feedback, pictures, and jokes. Now and then we gather, just to socialize and to have working meetings, and wine never misses on the table

What are some of the challenges of your job?
Barcelona Eat Local was the first entrepreneurial project in my life, and each step on the ladder has been a challenge, mainly because I didn’t know the travel industry.

After three years in business, I would say that the challenges we faced were: (i) establish credibility vis a vis vendors and future clients, (ii) drive sales in a consistent manner, and (iii) be ready to do things you never did or learn before

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
When you set a project, you build a business plan, in many cases full of assumptions and base on statistical data. At the time of implementing your project it is essential to keep in mind that reality is a game changer and that you need to be flexible and smart to adapt to changes and issues you didn’t plan for. I believe that if you manage to do that, your business can be quite successful.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
Be patient, “taste the waters,” and give a thought on the risks you are taking and how you could overcome them in case they materialize. Good luck!

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:

Barcelona Eat Local Food Tours: barcelonaeatlocal.com
Facebook: facebook.com/barcelonaeatlocalfoodtours
Twitter: twitter.com/bcneatlocal
Instagram: instagram.com/barcelonaeatlocal

Author: Ricky Singh, MBA

Editor of The Startup Growth.

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