Written by Rebeca Levia
Hi, my name is Rebeca Leiva and I am the founder of Garage Burgers.
It all started 5 ½ years ago, when I was 25 years old. The opportunity of opening my own restaurant presented to me. I was full of dreams and hope, but had no money. I was an employee in an energy drink company, and I was still taking cooking lessons. I didn’t have any experience running a restaurant or any other business. I decided to ask around for help and financing. Within a month I was able to pay everything back.
I started learning since day one. The journey turned out to be the best learning experience in my life, and I had more than one reason to try to make it good and succeed. I always try to stay positive no matter what. When you go into business, you already know it isn’t going to be easy, so why worry? Or do worry, but immediately find a way to solve the problem you are going through. I started with one employee and it was not a very good experience, but I learned a lot. Now, I have four people working with me, three students and my sister. The three students are able to finance their education with this job. If I can recommend a piece of advice, think very hard before going into business with your family. It’s not easy, it gets really stressful, and you may damage your relationships. Thankfully after six months, my sister and I found a way to work together, but it can still get difficult at times.
If I can tell you something to inspire you, it would be don’t worry! If you don’t know the correct way to do something, but you really want it, you will definitely find a way. Be patient and consistent and you will get the reward of achieving your dream. Believe you can, always. No matter what you hear, what they think, all you need is YOU to make it work. Always be truthful to what you are offering. If people notice you love it, they will love it.
I’m 30 years old now, and I’m so glad I took the risk of saying YES despite that I had no idea what I was in for. Thanks to taking that risk, now I have my dream business and I’m the first woman selling burgers (THE BEST BURGERS) in San Salvador city.
Rebeca Leiva is a 2017 YLAI Professional Fellow. She is the Founder and General Manager of El Garage Food and Drinks, a restaurant in El Salvador that serves handmade hamburgers made from local ingredients. El Garage supports sustainable development by buying local products and offers healthy and affordable food to the community. Before starting El Garage, Rebeca worked as a Sales Representative at Red Bull and studied Culinary Arts and Restaurants Management at the School of Culinary Arts (SCARTS).