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The coffee franchise that was saved thanks to cakes


Usina Cafetera had to close its premises during the quarantine and was reconverted by delivering pastry. After the reopening, it incorporated the new business unit and added new franchisees.

Laura Andahazi Kasnya

05/15/2021 12:15

  • Clarí

  • Economy

Updated 05/15/2021 12:31 PM

During 2019, the

Usina Cafetera


decided that it was time to start offering


to expand their business.

They began to design the processes to replicate them, to think about the commercial proposal and to put together the

operational manuals


what they never imagined was that it would be a virus that would threaten the project.

However, both

Ignacio Oporto

and his partner

Emiliano Escudero

and the investors who had already approached to analyze his proposal decided to

go ahead


“What we did was reassure them and assure them that Usina Cafetera was

not going to disappear

, that all the energy was put into it;

because also for us, the partners, it is our life project.

What we had to do to achieve this was to

reinvent ourselves,

”says Oporto.

Last year, with the quarantine, going out for a coffee was no longer an option and since coffee was not suitable for delivery either, to survive Usina Cafetera

began to sell home-made cakes

through shipping applications.

"Our pastry production

grew by 30%

and although now, with protocol, we are already open to the public,

the pastry shop is here to stay

and now we are close to opening a production plant to supply the locals," says Oporto.

Emiliano Escudero and Ignacio Oporto, owners of Usina Cafetera.

In this way, the venture increased the offer to its customers and offers its franchisees a window to continue billing,

whether or not the premises are closed

. Usina Cafetera has two own stores in Capital and, with this model, it

opened three franchises

; one in San Isidro that was inaugurated in full quarantine, another in Palermo Nuevo that opened at the end of 2020 and the last one opened this summer; all with some outdoor space. 

The investment to open a Usina Cafetera franchise is around

US $ 75,000

and monthly, they estimate from the brand, the monthly billing floor is around

$ 1,800,000


The partners adapted the business model to the reality of the pandemic: initially, the business required around 15 employees per location and took it to the

minimum number necessary

, according to the number of customers.

The merchandise is also subject to the demand of the takeaway or delivery. 

Jimena Gómez

and her husband

Pablo Venzal

are the franchisees of Usina Cafetera in San Isidro.

She is a pastry chef and he was a financial manager in a company and they had started looking for a franchise in 2019. 

Jimena Gómez and Pablo Venzal, Usina Cafetera franchisees.

The couple studied and toured all the cafeteria chains that grant franchises.

Gómez says that they felt identified only with Usina Cafetera, with which they reached an agreement to hire

four people instead of the 15

that appeared in the original manual.

"They also gave us, within certain parameters, the freedom to play with the decoration so that we too could put our stamp on it," he explains.

Negotiations, procedures and the search for the premises were going well until Covid 19 got in the queue.

The opening date of their premises was scheduled for April of last year and they

ended up opening in July, in winter and in full quarantine.

“They were very tough months.

With the help of the architect, we had to do a lot of the work ourselves.

Usina's partners were fundamental because in the hardest moments they did not charge us royalties and they helped us by giving us a 10% discount on purchases.

Everything was very positive since since January 2020 we have been investing in the work, but

without billing absolutely nothing,

"adds Gómez, who invested around US $ 60,000.

Jimena Gómez and Pablo Venzal, Usina Cafetera franchisees.

The Municipality of San Isidro enabled them to serve in the courtyard of the premises last September - until then the branch worked only with delivery or takeaway - and by the end of last year, with a little more activity, they had already achieved that the business to support themselves on their income and they

hired 4 more people.

“Crises are cyclical and one has to be able to adapt to the country that touches us.

The recovery times due to the pandemic were very extended, but I am sure that with work and dedication

in two or three years we will reach a balance

to have a profit margin, "says Gómez.

Note published in

Pymes Magazine. 

Source: clarin

All business articles on 2021-05-16

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