A good palm oil, shrimp, beans, peanuts and lots of love. In the land of Bahia, who can resist an acarajé? This is exactly what the maid Cláudia Pinheiro, better known as Preta, thought when she came up with the idea of starting to sell frozen delicacies during the pandemic and thereby guaranteeing an extra income, since one of the daughters was without Work. Quituteira with a handful – it must be said -, there was no other: people also started wondering where to buy the hot product to be consumed immediately.
“Customers started looking for ready-made treats early and then we saw there was an opportunity for the business to expand. Since I was also very dissatisfied with the job – not because of the activity carried out, but because of the lack of fair pay and the treatment given to the maid – I decided that I would go out and invest everything we had in Dendê da Preta “, she He says.
Together with daughters Camila Tuane, Amanda and Isabel, Preta decided to adapt a bicycle and sell the delights of Dendê da Preta (@dendapreta) in Praça da Révolution, in Periperi. She had everything except the tray: acarajé, abará, student cake and little bird with farofa and salad. It was a real success, as you say.
“I had about R $ 6,000 to start with. A family friend gave us a part. Another, I used my dismissal and my eldest daughter also contributed. We were born and raised here in Periperi and Praça da Revolution is the oldest square, the stage for the great events of the neighborhood, almost a tourist place, a commercial and fun place for families. There was no better place for our food bike.
Race by race, a month ago the food bike grew and became a food truck. During the pandemic, the monthly sale was around R $ 2,000. In a month with a food truck, Dendê da Preta has already doubled its income to R $ 4,000. In addition to the food truck, the grocery store continued to deliver frozen foods and also accepts orders for events.
“The whole family works with palm oil and prepares Bahian food very well. I learned from my grandmother and my aunts who raised me. We all worked with the sale of acarajé and, in a way, we saved it. My grandmother, Dona Helena, was one of the first baianas de acarajé here in Periperi, she had her tray in front of the old train station. She is part of the history and the lineage ”.
And Preta products weren’t just in Periperi. The brand has already sent the delivery of frozen products to Santa Catarina, San Paolo, Porto Alegre and Pernambuco. “We always create something new for our customers. Our moqueca, winner of the Tempero do Subúrbio Gastronomic Battle last year, became a gift option when we created Caixa Baiana. At Easter we also prepared an egg abará. We always innovate, whether in the way we deliver our product, in the packaging or in our facility, ”she says.
Among the best-selling items are the acarajé and the student cake. Prices range from R $ 5 to R $ 11. The food truck has even earned the nickname food teco. This is because Preta is preparing a menu with different bar foods, drinks and beverages, which is expected to be launched shortly.
“There were several challenges getting here, including surviving on variable income, updating, studying marketing, sales, customer relations, food storage and freezing, and financial organization. But, thank God, we have had several opportunities along this path, we have participated in various actions to help entrepreneurs and we have won some awards that have helped us reinvest in the business ”.
Dendê da Preta was among the finalists of the Academia Assaí award (2021), representing the street vendors category and, recently, was subjected to the Vale do Dendê acceleration program, aimed at entrepreneurs in the food sector.
“Each recognition came at a different time and helped us reach our goals in every phase we were going through, giving us that push and making us believe we were on the right path”, emphasizes.
Preta’s desire now is to have the food truck in other neighborhoods here in Salvador, open a restaurant and consolidate the sale and shipment of frozen Bahian delicacies throughout Brazil. “There are many plans, but we really want this expansion. For us Dendê da Preta is the realization of a family dream project. It is innovation, overcoming and inspiration for all those who know our history ”, she concludes.
THE POINTS OF BLACK
. invest in knowledge
Nobody knows everything. There are many options for free training today. It takes attitude, time and interest.
. Be close to your customer
Always listen to what he has to say and focus on providing the best dining experience you can provide, both in taste, packaging, personal presentation and structure.
. People like to know new things
The new is always welcome, so betting on a differential is a very interesting strategy, especially for companies that are born in the suburbs.
Do not give up on using quality ingredients and materials. The customer identifies with the product / service and when that happens, the value they pay ends up adding more to their business than the competition.
Social networks, collaboration with other entrepreneurs, networking. All of this is very powerful.
Claudia Pinheiro, Better known as Preta, she is a delicacy creator and creator of the delicacy brand Dendê da Preta.