Julian Cervantes of Super Taco Mexican Restaurants on Owning a Family Business Interview with Super Taco Mexican Restaurants Founder Julian Cervantes about starting a business with little knowledge, having a Plan B, and balancing family and work.

By Shawn P. Walchef

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Takeaways from this episode:

A Family and A Dream - Julian Cervantes knew at an early age that he wanted to run his own business. He decided to take on the restaurant business, and with the help of his sisters, Iliana and Maria, they set off on the journey.

Plan B: Relax and Have Fun - By year 3, Julian Cervantes was ready to sell the business. Fortunately, due to a serendipitously slow buyer he and his wife (also known as Super Woman) had the time to rethink, relax, and recalibrate.

Work-Wife Balance - It's tough to find the right balance when running a business, specifically a family business. For Julian Cervantes, it is important for him to keep business, family, and happiness in its proper order.


Super Taco Mexican Restaurants Owner Julian Cervantes knew as a young man growing up in Sacramento that he wanted to own a business.

He just didn't know what to open or even how to get started. Luckily there were people around him who could help him become a restaurant entrepreneur.

With no plan, no background, but armed fully with ambition, passion, and money in savings, a young Julian Cervantes set out to find a location to open his first restaurant.

Powerful women serving as guides and helpers is a recurring theme throughout his life, and his initial business venture was no different. His sisters, Iliana and Maria, stepped in to help, and on September 29, 1991, the very first Super Taco Mexican Restaurant was open for business in Sacramento, California.

Super Taco is a true family restaurant business. Cervantes' wife and sons are a part of the business, yes, but are also the key to the balance necessary for Cervantes to remain joyful while navigating the ever-changing terrain of entrepreneurship. According to him, family first is the only way to have a successful business. Flipping those priorities, for the Cervantes family, is a recipe for success.

"Know your family is first, and happiness (is second). Third is your business," Julian Cervantes said on the Restaurant Influencers podcast hosted by Shawn P. Walchef of CaliBBQ Media. "If you do it the other way around and everything's for the business, you might not have a family."

Most businesses struggle to get off the ground and Super Taco was no different. Three years in, it just wasn't working and Julian Cervantes was ready to sell. Fortunately, he and his wife, who had become an integral part of the business by this time, were afforded time to reconsider selling, shuffle priorities, and get back to the essence of family first.

Those small changes proved to be the tweak necessary to send Super Taco Mexican Restaurants into a successful trajectory starting in the 90s and continuing to this day. And the rest has been taco history.


NOMINATE A RESTAURANT INFLUENCER — Do you know someone who is killing it on social media? Let us know by emailing influencers@calibbq.media or sending the @calibbqmedia team a DM on social media.


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Wavy Line

Shawn P. Walchef is the founder of Cali BBQ Media, podcast host, business coach, and proud dad. Since opening Cali BBQ in 2008, he has grown his San Diego restaurant and media company into a global brand using digital tools and smartphone storytelling. 

As a restaurateur who opened during the Great Recession, Shawn learned to use the power of the Internet to stay in business. During the Pandemic, Cali BBQ developed a scalable growth plan that is three times more profitable than the traditional full-service restaurant model.
Email shawn@calibbq.media to get in touch.

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