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Napa Valley Bistro, Napa

“Experienced Napa county chef opens new bistro”

Executive Chef of Silverado Brewing Company, Bernardo Ayala, is a long term client of the SBDC who has taken advantage of the Napa-Sonoma program for several years. During that time, he has attended workshops and worked with Business Advisor Charlie Monahan to meet his businesses goals in food and labor costs, as well as in management functions such as meetings. In early spring of 2013, Bernardo contacted Advisor Monahan with the idea of creating an American Bistro in a vacant restaurant in downtown Napa. Bernardo requested assistance organizing tasks, creating a calendar timeline and a process of determining the feasibility of opening the restaurant.

The physical location was an asset sale but in relatively turnkey condition, and therefore a smaller than expected project cost was possible. However Bernardo and his partner only had $60-70,000 to invest, and needed significantly more to make the project viable.

All points along the planning process indicated this project had great potential for success. Bernardo and his Business Advisor created lists of tasks and created a calendar of the timeline for the remodel, as well as operational milestones such as hiring and training employees, and planning opening events. With SBDC assistance, Bernardo reviewed equipment and POS system requirements, and requested bids for software updates and training. His Business Advisor advised Bernardo on projections of revenue and expenses, and reviewed his business plan for soundness. He also explained loan processes, timing and checklists, and identified documents necessary to support the loan if needed.

As the opening dates arrived, Bernardo received very valuable marketing assistance from SBDC advisor Carolynne gamble. Carolynne helped Bernardo design templates for Constant Contact, advised him on website development and assisted with opening public relations tasks. Since their initial meeting, both advisors (Charlie Monahan and Carolynne Gamble) have both circled back to Bernardo, ensuring that the restaurant remains on track in terms of operations, marketing and financial performance.

“Working with the SBDC directed me to a successful opening of my restaurant. They set-up guidelines for me to follow that made my life easier. I have worked with Charlie Monohan and the Napa SBDC in the past, and they really know the restaurant business.”

Napa Valley Bistro
CEO: Bernardo Ayala & Eduardo Martinez
Napa, CA