It started with a dream…

At the Posada Contemporary Southwestern restaurant in Livermore, California, a typical night sees about 250 guests filter throughout the space.

To any passerby, it likely seems like many other successful restaurants in the area– a fortuitous combination of experience in the industry, some financial backing, and maybe a fancy review mixed in on opening night for publicity.

However, the origins of this restaurant are quite different.

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Eduardo Posada, the driving force behind the restaurant, remains invisible for most of the night– busy in the kitchen preparing popular dishes like Mahi Mahi tacos alongside other bestsellers like open-fire grilled shrimp with guacamole and basil-cilantro slaw.

Posada does not hail from a fancy culinary school or have deep connections in the food industry. In fact, the 59-year-old goes back to the San Ramon Valley Unified School District — where he was a janitor.

How a Restaurant Owner Transitioned From a Janitor into a Business Owner

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Posada Restaurant (@posadarestaurant)

Instead of a spatula, Posada wielded a mop and bucket, despite always knowing which he preferred.

In the 1980s, when he was in his mid-20s, Posada enjoyed a stint making breakfast burritos and selling them out of the back of his car. Since those days, he held tightly to his entrepreneurial spirit, throughout quite the unexpected detour.

While working as a janitor, Posada always dreamed of sharing his love for cooking with others. One fateful day, he asked the school principal if he could prepare a staff meal. She obliged, and Posada swapped his usual work tools for pots and pans, and navigated the school cafeteria in a move that would change his life.

His efforts were received so well he was asked to do it again.

More importantly, he received a much-needed injection of confidence. This courage snowballed and propelled him to take a bold risk and start a private catering company.

After nearly ten years of running a successful catering company, Posada finally took the big leap and opened his own restaurant in 2015.

Situated in a strip mall in Livermore, California, the restaurant has become a massive success and has even undergone an expansion since its opening.

“It started with a dream,” says Posada through his restaurant’s website. “A dream to create and share delicious food made of bold flavors, quality product and from the heart inspiration.”

The expansion was necessary to satisfy increasing demand, a testament to Posada’s success. After years of running his catering company, Posada became known for his culinary creativity, sharing with local news that “[the catering company] has been my platform to explore and test my menus before bringing them to the restaurant.”

The restaurant is also a family affair now. Posada’s son Alexis works as the manager, and his wife Bianca runs the service floor.

Even the food on plates traces back to Posada’s family. He credits his mother for much of his inspiration in the kitchen, remembering fondly her distinct spin on traditional Mexican recipes.

Posada continues this legacy by reinterpreting various traditional dishes while maintaining relationships with local farms to ensure quality. He changes the menu frequently to incorporate the freshest ingredients, and to allow room for creativity in the kitchen. Posada is deeply thoughtful about the menu he puts together, and, luckily for those in the area, never let go of his passion during all those years working odd jobs.

The restaurant has received glowing reviews, and Posada will definitely not have to return to any local high schools for work anytime soon.

He is a shining example of not only following your dreamspo but holding tight to them while making sacrifices.

In the age of instant gratification, many expect their goals to materialize immediately, and Posada’s story is a reminder of the detours of life, and the often non-linear path to success.

His story is also a testament to taking risks.

Had he not asked the school principal if he could cook for the staff, he may have never stirred the confidence to go out on his own. Starting a business requires bravery, and Posada rose to the occasion in a spectacular way.

Next time you imagine running your own business or taking a leap in the way Posada did, remember his patience and determination.