Owner Spotlight: Guillermo Santana
Get to know Guillermo!
You may know Guillermo as an owner at Pure Brookhaven & Inman Park, but do you know his entire story?
Guillermo has been with Pure nearly since it’s creation. He started as a line-cook at Pure Alpharetta in February of 2006 after hearing about the job from a fellow high-school classmate, Eddie Garcia, the chef who helped open Pure Alpharetta. When Eddie left to go work at Bistro VG, Guillermo was promoted to Kitchen Manager… but his work didn’t stop there. “While saving money for my wedding”, Guillermo explains, “I went almost two years without a day off. I was working not only as the kitchen manager, but doing some key managing in the front-of-the-house and serving.” In 2009 the first Pure Taqueria Franchise was opened in Woodstock with his help. He subsequently helped open Inman Park, Duluth, and Matthews over the next 6 years. “When we first opened Woodstock, we didn’t have the resources we do now. We opened that store without the menu training guides or recipe books. It’s funny looking back now because I don’t know how we did it!” In 2010, with the brand looking to grow, Guillermo was offered the position of area manager and helped develop Pure’s first training manuals and recipe guides alongside Pure’s founders and Director of Operations.
Four years ago, presented with the opportunity to open his own Pure Taqueria, Guillermo jumped for it. He is now a proud partner in both Pure Taqueria Brookhaven and Pure Taqueria Inman Park.
What is your favorite part about working at Pure?
I just love everything about the restaurant. It’s unique… it’s Pure, really. It’s fun. I't’s always been fun. I love that we make everything from scratch… you don’t get that everywhere.
What’s been the hardest moment during your career at Pure?
Honestly, the hardest moments have been the ones managing staff. People think differently and come into work with different moods and mentalities. I’m constantly trying to create an upbeat vibe amongst our Team while keeping everyone in mind. When I first started the position as area manager, I didn’t even know how to use excel. There were definitely some learning curves but I learned a lot from Chris; he’s been a great mentor over the years.
What advice would you give to others about working their way up the ladder?
You have to start from the bottom and learn every single thing about the business. Walk before you run, have a goal and a plan to reach it; have some ambition, and some balls. Chris, one of the founder’s of Pure Taqueria, had me do goal setting when I first started at Pure. Sitting down and really looking at where I wanted to go helped me develop a concrete plan to get where I am today.
Do you have any quotes or mantras?
“Make it nice or make it twice.”
- Guillermo Santana
I like to remind the Team in the kitchen to “Make it nice or make it twice.” They get the gist!
If you had to start your own business, what would you do (other than Pure)?
Either open up the pool hall or invest in my brother’s business!
Do you have any secret talents or hobbies?
Hmm… I guess I’m good at repairing things. A handyman, maybe? Cooking? Griddling?
When are you happiest?
I’m happiest when I’m with my kids. I love watching my oldest play soccer.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
A lot of people probably don’t know my entire history with Pure! (They will now, though)
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life what would you choose?
Spicy Homemade Wings
What is your proudest moment at Pure?
My proudest moment would be the day I became an owner of a Pure Taqueria. It makes me really proud to look at where I started and to see where I am now. I’ve learned that you’ve really got to be humble. Being humble opens up a lot of opportunities in life. Even when I’ve failed over the years, or someone on my Team has failed, we have always fallen as a Team.
What about your proudest moment in life?
My kids! For sure, my kids. I have two boys, ages 10 and 12 and one little girl on the way! She is due this November.
If money wasn’t a factor, describe your perfect day.
I would wake up and enjoy a delicious, veggie omelet for breakfast. I’ve always wanted to go to Italy, so I’d probably either fly or take my family on a cruise there.
And how long would you go for?
Well… you said money wasn’t a factor, right? Then maybe a few months!
What is a goal you are currently working towards?
Also, since I was 25, about the time I started working at Pure, one of my biggest dreams has been to own a pool hall. I love playing pool and used to play in tournaments with my brother. The pool hall would be open, clean, bright, and have some beachy elements.