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UST Students Establish Venture in Food Services

Entrepreneurial students create traditional treats through online orders and social media promotion

By Sarah Oyarce
On February 27, 2015

Senior and communication major Maria Razo’s and her business partner, senior nursing major Edna Torres, did not have dreams of starting their own company.

According to Torres, it actually started with the curiosity to try a preparada, a kind of fruit cocktail that can be stuffed with chili powder, grapes, kiwi, apples, candy, etc.

Razo and Torres researched a place 30 minutes away from their homes in Tomball, Texas that offered the specialty treat. With a need for a job and the desire to offer something new to the Tomball area, Razo and Torres opened Frutilandia Preparadas, a home-based restaurant that specializes in baked goods like choco-flan, a half chocolate cake and half flan dessert that can include strawberries, pecans and caramel, and other treats like mango, pineapple and watermelon preparadas, corn-in-a-cup and strawberry “rose” bouquets, a new addition to their winter menu for the holiday.

When Razo and Torres saw how well their customers responded to their products and the success and profit it was bringing, the two started to think about bigger things, Razo said. Razo and Torres are now pondering the possibility of opening up a commercial location for their business.

There are many restaurants that offer preparadas at the moment, but Razo said that what makes their business stand out is giving customers the ability to customize their preparadas by adding ingredients not offered at some other establishments such as a wide assortment of both American and Mexican candy and freshly-squeezed juices. Frutilandia Preparadas can also make preparadas a healthier alternative by reducing the amount of candy.

Because they are only open on Saturdays and Sundays due to school, Razo and Torres admit that it can get pretty busy on the weekends.

This Valentine’s Day, Razo and Torres sold $1,000 worth of preparadas, choco-flans, corn-in-a-cups and strawberry rose bouquets. Their menu ranges in prices from $4 for corn-in-a-cup to $25 for choco-flans, which came out to roughly 45 orders for the Valentine’s Day weekend, according to Torres.

Although their business consumes a lot of their free time, Frutilandia Preparadas is a “blessing,” Razo said. Without the income from their business, Razo admits that the two would be at other places of employment.

“We would probably be at another job struggling and getting paid max $10 an hour at a reception desk,” Razo said.

Through her work with Frutilandia Preparadas, Razos has expanded her knowledge of many subjects important to running a business such as customer service, attention to detail, product quality and even social media. Frutilandia Preparadas’ Facebook page started out with only a few friends but has now grown to 1,645 at the time this article was written. 

As for Torres, being co-owner of Frutilandia Preparadas has given her insight into the business industry and has also allowed her to practice her customer service skills in regards to her nursing degree.

“This business has shown me that there are multiple types of people out there, and you will not be able to please all of them all the time,” Torres said. “This applies to nursing since I will be dealing with different kinds of personalities.” 

It has not always been easy for Razo and Torres, but Razo credits her and Torres’ work ethic and God for their success.

“We’ve always had it tough, you could say, because we started out as undocumented individuals so we’ve always had to work really hard for what we do,” Razo said. “Spiritually; I think that has helped us the most -- Knowing that there is a God and knowing that He always makes things happen for us has been our big thing.”

From researching somewhere to order a preparada to owning their own preparada business, Razo and Torres have certainly come a long way.

“Don’t be afraid to start something new around your area,” Torres said as advice to potential business owners. “It might turn out to be a hit.”


Photo Courtesy - Fruitilandia Preparadas

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