Kissimmee, Fla. – May 09, 2017 – Felipe Perez Grajales, co-founder of Puerto Rico’s most celebrated restaurant chain Meson Sandwiches, visited Florida Technical College this week as the headliner of the school’s ‘’Influencer Series”.
This is a monthly event that brings business and civic leaders to campus for an honest conversation about success and ethics, as well as personal and professional growth.
With 37 stores in the island, Meson Sandwiches is Puerto Rico’s largest and most successful restaurant chain. It was designated as one of the “Best Fast-Food Chains in the World” by Travel + Leisure magazine. The chain began with one single store on the island’s northwestern coast, launched by Pérez Grajales’ father, in which all of his children worked from a very early age.
The chain’s success is a story worth sharing with the students, FTC Kissimmee Executive Director Gabriel Garcés said, because it has a good dose of reality.
“We want to motivate our students to stay focused on their goals, as well as to instill in them an accurate perception of how success is really attained,” Garcés said. “Meson didn’t become what they are overnight. There were ups and downs, but mostly there was focus, dedication and determination not to fail. That’s an important life lesson.”
Meson began its expansion into the mainland U.S. in 2015 with its first store in Orlando. To date, it has three restaurants in the area and two in the making.
“To be an entrepreneur, you must love what you do and love it a lot,” said Perez about the long hours and personal sacrifices his family made while developing the business. “Don’t waste time looking around to see what others are doing. Look ahead and inward. See what you can improve and don’t stop innovating.”
Joel Borges, a Baking & Pasteleria student who attended the event, said that he was leaving it inspired to pursue his goal of owning a cake business.
“My Amaretto cake is the best,” said Borges, who expects to graduate in the fall. “It just melts in your mouth. What if I can take that and turn it into how I support my family? That would be the dream. I’m confident than with the education I’m getting and hard work I can get there.”
FTC’s Culinary Arts and Baking & Pasteleria programs are hands-on. Students learn by practicing dishes and techniques in a commercial-grade kitchen. The programs also teach skills to manage food service businesses such as cost control, menu creation and facility operations. FTC’s Culinary Arts and Baking & Pasteleria are offered only at the Kissimmee campus.
About Florida Technical College: FTC offers associate and bachelor’s degrees and diploma programs in a range of professions, including healthcare, computer networking, graphic design, criminal justice, culinary arts, and cosmetology. FTC campuses are located in Orlando, Lakeland, DeLand, Kissimmee, Pembroke Pines, and Cutler Bay.
Founded in 1982 to provide private, post-secondary education in specialized fields. Program availability varies by location. Important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended this program is available at www.ftccollege.edu/disclosures.html.