Is there anything more delicious than a good meat patty? For the American palate, a good bacon, egg and cheese empanada, or the classic pepperoni. And is that when you enter a new market you have to adapt the product to consumer habits.
So he thought Lucas Capurro, co-founder of Smile, the first line of empanadas with typical American flavors that has just opened its first location in the elegant neighborhood of Coral Gables, one of the most important residential areas in Miami Dade County.
Capurro, a native of Argentina, has lived in Miami for eight years and understands this market. During the pandemic, he had a simple but highly original idea. He thought that the real business was not in setting up a place to sell classic empanadas like those eaten in South America (meat, ham and cheese, spinach, etc.), but rather the empanadas had to be adapted to the American flavor. Thus he created a new category of fast food. The empanada is delicious and easy to eat. It can be eaten on foot, or while in the car, as most Americans like to do. With these new flavors a niche is opened so that empanadas compete head to head with other fast foods already installed in the popular taste such as hamburgers or pizza. With the plus that the empanadas can be much healthier.
But Capurro was not going to do things by halves. He decided to contact investors in Miami with whom he developed a business plan with the idea of power get to operate 2,000 stores throughout the United States.
The project is of such a scale that an international firm was hired to develop the brand and its visual identity. With the massive support of investors who believed, like him, that this business could be a gold mine, he finally summoned Ariel tiemroth, who was already a consecrated gastronomic entrepreneur in Neuquén and one of the main craft beer manufacturers in Argentine Patagonia. Tiemroth moved to Miami to lead the project of Smile.
“Empanadas make you smile because they make your life easier, simpler, more nutritious, they can be eaten anywhere and they are delicious ”, said Tiemroth explaining the name of the brand (Smile means smile in English).
To develop this new line of empanadas Smile hired a chef of recognized trajectory and with great success in restaurants in the United States, with whom they elaborated a menu that includes flavors such as marinara chicken, cheeseburger, mushrooms, beef burritos and even sweet flavors like guava and cheese or oreo.
The first local Smile, located at 6907 South Red Road in Coral Gables, has been open for two months and is a absolute success in sales. Although the objective is soon to start expanding the business with new stores, they are also developing online sales through their website (www.smileempanadas.com) and have a presence in all home delivery services, such as Uber Eats or Grubhub.
Argentine-American empanadas are here to stay and very soon we will see them competing with the already installed Taco Bell, Domino’s Pizza or Dunkin Donuts.