The taste for the restaurant industry and the passion for coffee led to Antonio Orozco González and Mónica Escoto to create a new restaurant concept in the city 20 years ago.
In 2003 they created Café Chai, a chain of coffee shops that stands out for presenting a different offering in Guadalajara. that combined quality food, with affordable prices, in a pleasant and fresh environment.
“I had once had a restaurant, but the idea came out because we had a good location that we liked to do a different project, we had the idea of what to do there because it is a very nice old house,” recalled Antonio Orozco, a lawyer by profession. .
It was in this way that the first branch was opened on Vallarta Avenue almost on the corner with Chapultepec, which soon became popular among consumers.
The project turned out, the quality of the coffee, the dishes, the prices and the place made it different.
“Before it was very difficult to find a good coffee in Guadalajara where they would serve you a good espresso, there were no international brands that would change the market and we kind of came up with a new proposal that did not exist at that time,” commented Antonio Orozco.
They currently have 14 Café Chai branches in the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area and other cities such as Puerto Vallarta and Morelia.
“Morelia is about eight years old, it works very well, Puerto Vallarta is not the best, but we are still there because we opened during a pandemic and it started out as a difficult branch,” he admitted.
They resist the pandemic
Although Guadalajara is a city where many restaurants open and close, Café Chai has survived thanks to its concept.
“From the beginning we saw a good option, I think we have always provided good quality in what we offer and with fair prices, it is a combination of beautiful spaces and what we offer, that has helped us survive,” said Antonio Orozco.
Antonio Orozco recognizes that one of the keys to the success of this business has been the human team they have, since there are many collaborators who have been there since the beginning, in addition to continuing to innovate and offering quality dishes at affordable prices. They currently have more than 600 workers in their different areas and branches.
However, not everything has been “hot and cold”, since during the pandemic they had to close some branches and stop their expansion plans.
“The pandemic for every restaurateur was a very complicated time, we had to tighten our belts, we closed branches and we also had to adjust very hard organizationally, we made cuts, it was a structural reorganization,” he recalled.
When the pandemic began, the company had 900 workers.
“He left us with a lesson, that you have to be more efficient, do more with fewer people,” he explained.
The plans in the short and medium term are to continue growing, since due to the COVID-19 pandemic the expansion plans were slowed down, but They hope to open at least two branches next year.
“I think it has been very complicated because a lot has changed, we are all struggling to find personnel and we are suffering because we are not complete, and the other issue has been the inflation that has registered an increase in prices,” he concluded.
Chai Américas Chai Centro Chai Plaza Patria Chai Ex Convento Chai Plaza del Sol Chai Morelia Chai Plaza Galerías Chai Plaza D’Lucca Chai Espacio Galerías Chai Vallarta
“Doña Mago” and “Chava” have been at Café Chai since the beginning. THE INFORMATOR/H. Figueroa
They recognize the trajectory of workers
At the event for Café Chai’s 20th Anniversary, recognitions were given to the company’s most senior employees.
Margarita Perales “Doña Mago” and Salvador Trejo “Chava” received a prize of 20 thousand pesos each for remaining 20 years in this Guadalajara chain.
Margarita Perales Salcedo, better known as “Doña Mago” recalled that it was in 2003 when she joined the company in the kitchen.
“I have always liked it, since I started working here. Right now I am in production and I am in charge of preparing the buffet and things that are needed, on Saturday and Sunday I make quesadillas for the buffet,” she explained.
Margarita Perales commented that Café Chai is like her home, since she has been working for many years and plans to retire here.
“I have never liked to go from job to job, I have been active for 28 years, of those 20 here, next year, God willing, I will retire,” he added.
Salvador Trejo “Chava”, waiter at Café Chai in Plaza Patria, said that this recognition is an encouragement because he has dedicated 20 years of his life to this company.
“El Chai has given me a lot of satisfaction, I have met many good people, they have treated me very well,” he commented.
He highlighted that when this new concept of Café Chai was created, it began to expand throughout the city, and in several cafés they were already selling paninis, pizza, delis, and salads with the terrace concept.
“It was something innovative and beautiful, it was a new concept and then it was copied by everyone, everyone wanted to sell the same thing.”
He added that he has also been encouraged to have other positions, but he is happier being a waiter.
“I came in as captain and as a trusted person, but I don’t like positions because I don’t like to answer for other people, I prefer my peace of mind,” added Salvador Trejo.
Salvador Trejo started at the Vallarta Avenue branch, then moved to Mexico Avenue and currently in Patria.
“They have always treated me very nicely, they have loved me a lot and I think I couldn’t have had a better job,” he said.
He recalled that during the COVID-19 pandemic they had to rest and then they returned.
“Some didn’t want to because they had to cut back on days, some of us went to work some days, others on other days, and maybe it wasn’t convenient for others anymore and they left, everyone saw it for themselves and some left,” he recalled.
The workers also recognized that in this company they have always received their payments, benefits and support on time.
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