Doña Laura Restaurant’s Recipe to Transform Lives Through Food

By Cécile Ney
Group pf people toasting and enjoying food at restaurant

In 1994, Doña Laura Restaurant opened its doors in El Salvador with a special mission: to serve delicious food and be a hub of community care. The restaurant, rooted in the Ágape Association and founded by Father Flavian Mucci and currently led by Father Jack Hoak, supports vulnerable communities through sustainable projects and promotes human development with ethical and Franciscan Christian values while aiming to aid those in need.

The Challenge: Ensuring Sustainability

Under the leadership of Jessica, Rubén, and Nehemías, Doña Laura Restaurant encountered the critical task of achieving profitability to ensure the long-term sustainability of the business. Facing mounting food prices and a need to enhance restaurant productivity, the team sought assistance. Recognizing the importance of financial stability for sustaining jobs and their community impact, they turned to the Bpeace Travel Maximizer program for support. 

The Bpeace Approach

When Doña Laura Restaurant partnered with business volunteer (“Skillanthropist”) Louis Dries through the Bpeace program, they unlocked a cascade of positive effects within the community. Louis, an expert in supply chain and operations improvement, identified a critical issue: the restaurant’s heavy reliance on external suppliers, which strained its finances and hindered cost control. His solution was transformative: Why not cultivate their own vegetables? By collaborating with a nearby nursing home, they utilized available land to grow fresh produce, reducing costs and creating local job opportunities.

Louis’s impact extended beyond the restaurant’s walls. He facilitated connections with other Bpeace alumni, broadening the restaurant’s supplier network and fostering collaboration among local businesses. This not only strengthened the restaurant’s supply chain but also empowered the wider community.

Furthermore, under Louis’s guidance, the team explored innovative strategies to attract customers, including offering meal subscriptions for seniors, launching a food truck venture, and opening a gelato bar. These initiatives not only enhanced the restaurant’s profitability but also enriched the local culinary scene and provided additional employment opportunities for community members.

The Outcome: Celebrating Success and Transforming Communities

The impact of these initiatives was remarkable. Within just a year, the restaurant experienced a surge in sales, soaring by nearly 90%, and was able to extend employment opportunities to twelve additional Salvadorans.

Reflecting on their journey, the team expressed gratitude to Louis for his invaluable guidance and support. His personalized advice, coupled with innovative thinking, empowered them to navigate challenges effectively and seize opportunities for growth. By embracing collaboration and thinking outside the box, they not only revitalized their business but also catalyzed positive change within their local community, demonstrating the profound social impact that can be achieved through collaboration and creative solutions.



  • Cécile Ney

    Cécile Ney is Bpeace's Impact Manager. She also teaches social entrepreneurship and innovation in Central American universities and previously managed programs in Latin American incubators and accelerators.