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How This California Hot Spot Grew From Delivery-Only to Pop-Up Shop to Storefront Learn how Miguel's Artisan Recipes uses customer feedback and community opportunities to dish out crowd-favorite cuisine.

By Emily Washcovick

Key Takeaways

  • Connect with customers on a personal level. Your personality and presence can build trust in your business and help them see you as part of the community.
  • Reviews are a valuable source of menu feedback. They can give you guidance on what dishes or flavors you might want to offer.
  • Invest in quality ingredients, and stay true to original recipes. Prioritizing an authentic customer experience can help drive organic demand for your business.
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Courtesy of Miguel’s Artisan Recipes

Everyone always has a seat at the Segura family's dinner table. Miguel and Lisa Segura, owners of Miguel's Artisan Recipes in Clovis, California, have been making homemade Mexican recipes for their friends and neighbors for decades.

But when the pandemic hit and both were furloughed from their jobs, they turned their passion into a business. Lisa created a label, and using Miguel's mother's recipes, they began delivering fresh meals to friends and family by car.

When word spread, the Seguras were invited to serve their homestyle cuisine at pop-up events with Fresno Street Eats, a food truck and festival venue. The company's owner helped them get set up with a certified kitchen and pop-up tent. The next year, the tent turned into a food truck, which finally gave way to a storefront. In the corner of a neighborhood convenience store, the owners cook meals for catered events and sell their famous dishes and jarred salsas.

Fresh recipes and a tight-knit customer community earned the restaurant the #1 spot on Yelp's Top 100 Places to Eat in the Central Valley - North list in 2023. This is how Nathen M., senior community director at Yelp and Elite reviewer, discovered—and came to adore—the Seguras' business.

"Their food and jarred salsas are just fantastic and consistently delicious," his review reads. "Their tacos are to die for, but recently I tried their tamales, and it's the perfect ratio of masa to tender pork. My Mexican mother-in-law, who is very, very picky with her tamales, gave these a double thumbs up."

The restaurant's authenticity is a huge reason why Lisa and Miguel have seen exploding success. Taking advantage of the agricultural community in the Central Valley, they source fresh ingredients every week to honor their family's original recipes, which resonate with nostalgic customers.

"Some people actually [say], 'You just took me back 20 years.' That's the biggest compliment in the world to me because you're having my mother's food," Miguel said.

Though many of Lisa and Miguel's recipes have been in the family for generations, a key component of their success is their flexibility in the kitchen. Starting out with a short menu of staples, the owners have thoughtfully built out their offerings over the last few years as they've received customer feedback. With a background in sales, Miguel understands the importance of really listening to his customers.

"I have cooks and chefs that are already in my kitchen now," he said. "All we have to do is find out what food you like."

"We have high expectations for ourselves, and we want other people to have good experiences when they're eating the food," Lisa added. "So how can I be better? Continuously improving is part of our culture."

Not only are Miguel and Lisa receptive to feedback but they are proactive about making customer connections, eager to share their food with as many people as they can. In and out of their store, the Seguras always ask regulars how they're doing and invite new customers in to sample their salsas.

One of the biggest ways they reach customers is through appearances on local TV channel Fox 26, where they visit the Great Day Kitchen and put on cooking demonstrations of their signature dishes. Beyond the screen, Miguel and Lisa are involved with several community projects, speaking at conferences and with nonprofits about their path to entrepreneurial success.

"It's not just about us making food, it's about making a difference, giving to other people," Lisa said. "We are all growing together. I feel so blessed to be giving part of myself, our cooking, and our family legacy to the community. I think that Miguel's mom would have said it best: 'Bring everybody to the house. Let them eat.'"

Miguel and Lisa's friendly customer service and community integration is what struck Nathen most about their business.

"It's a lot of work to be out and about all the time and running a business, and they do it with grace," Nathen said. "Every time I've met them in person, there's never a look of 'How do we do this?' It's just, 'How are you doing? We're excited to see you. Do you want some food?'"

Having worked with both Yelp consumers and small business owners for nine years, Nathen believes these small interactions are the key to community success.

"One thing [that] has never changed when it comes to pitching Yelp events is [that] your food will become secondary. If people can see you and identify with you and learn a little bit about you, they are going to fall in love with you, and they will want to support you. And how do they do that? By coming back to your restaurant and eating your delicious food."

Nathen urges business owners to connect on a human level with customers, even on days when they're not feeling 100% or are dealing with a difficult person.

"Don't look at a person who's going to potentially review you as your nemesis," he said. "You don't know what they're walking in from. Maybe the best part of their day is enjoying your sandwich or your taco or your gym class."

Nathen brings this same level of empathy to his interactions as a reviewer. When he has a negative experience, he waits 24 hours before writing a review, pausing to think about the person on the other side of the counter, who may be stressed from trying to make ends meet. When he does provide critical feedback, he makes sure it's constructive and not destructive.

"Try to put your best foot forward all the time," he said. "If the consumer and the owner took a beat before immediately assuming something, there'd be a little less anger out there."

In addition to community building, Miguel's Artisan Recipes believes in:

  • Listening to feedback. Start with a small list of offerings and give yourself room to grow your menu based on what customers want to see.
  • Engaging with customers whenever possible. Build long-term relationships with your customers by getting to know them on a personal level, both inside and outside of your store.
  • Using fresh ingredients and authentic recipes. Invest in the quality of your products, and customer demand will follow.

Listen to the episode below to hear directly from Miguel, Lisa, and Nathen, and subscribe to Behind the Review for more from new business owners and reviewers every Thursday.

Available on: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Pandora and Soundcloud.

Editorial contributions by Callie Morgan and Kristi Lindahl

Emily Washcovick

Small Business Expert at Yelp

As Yelp’s Small Business Expert, Emily is meticulously focused on helping local business owners succeed and grow. Her expertise lies in customer engagement, reputation management, and all things digital marketing. Through speaking engagements and thought leadership, Emily shares industry insights that entrepreneurs in any business category can leverage for the growth and well-being of their businesses. She is also the host of Behind the Review, a podcast from Yelp and Entrepreneur Media, where each episode features conversations with a business owner and a reviewer about the story and lessons behind their interactions.

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