Chef Miguel's Deli

"It Changed Our Lives Completely" - How Opening A Restaurant Improved One Man's Health and Brought His Family Closer Together

Miguel Martinez was tired.

He'd been working as the regional chef for a major steakhouse chain, managing 38 restaurants, flying all over the country to open new branches and train other chefs. For 15 years, he'd travel for 3 weeks, be home for 4 days, then leave again.

He didn't feel good in his body. He wanted to lose weight. To spend time with his wife and 4 kids. To feel like part of his own family.

"I started with myself . . . I was trying to get something different," he says. "I'd been away from home for the most part for the last 15 years. My kids were growing. I was never home. So besides getting hold of my weight, I was trying to get hold of my family, too."

He got that something different when he opened Chef Miguel's Deli in 2009, a healthy salad, sandwich, and smoothie place in downtown San Diego. He'd cooked a lot of French and Italian food over the years, he remarks, "everything but healthy." So as his first family project, he worked with his wife and oldest son to develop juice and smoothie recipes. They made a menu that was healthy, "and that's how we started Chef Miguel's Deli," he remembers.

Miguel built the restaurant to last, seeking financing to renovate it. The place needed some new tables and chairs. He says that he'd tried looking to Bank of America to meet his funding needs, but that ultimately Biz2Credit was a better fit due to ease and convenience.

Just as he built the restaurant to last, he also built it to serve his customers and his community.

"Everybody will charge you an arm and a leg for healthy food," he states. "I don't charge an arm and a leg for healthy food. My prices are really conservative. You get a salad with chicken for $8; you get a sandwich or wrap and a smoothie for $8."

Chef Miguel's Deli is set up in a good spot, an area with heavy weekday foot traffic. He caters to the office worker and bank clerk crowd, commenting that people who eat out 5 days a week can either spend $40 with him, or $60 - $70 somewhere else.

His approach worked, and his business grew. He took out a second loan to add more coolers. Then another loan, with an eye "always to improve - to generate more money, more revenue, more sales."

He comments that his Biz2Credit case manager Revathi "has always been there for us. I highly recommend her; she's always stepping up to her plate trying to get me what I need when I need it. [The process has] always been straightforward; that's the reason why i can't go back - she makes it easy for me to go back and choose Biz2Credit rather than going to the banks.

As Miguel's business has taken off, so have his personal goals. He lost about 90 pounds. And he's gotten to work with his family. "Here, I have my wife with me, and my daughter and my son . . . spending quality time, and having a good time."

"He comments that his Biz2Credit case manager Revathi "has always been there for us. I highly recommend her; she's always stepping up to her plate trying to get me what I need when I need it."