As a child, the question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” makes children travel to the future and design themselves. So it was with Cynthia Lins, one of the leaders of Panelinhas do Brasil. As part of a nationwide expansion project, the franchised restaurant chain, focusing on typical Brazilian cuisine, opened another location this Monday (September 5). This time at the Diamond Mall in Belo Horizonte.
Cynthia was born in Paraiba but grew up in Brazil. In an interview with Coluna, Claudia Meireles revealed that the start of her professional life happened when she was still a teenager. Dedication, effort and willpower are words that always flow through the veins of business women. At the age of 14, partner Panelinhas do Brasil started working as a saleswoman in clothing stores in the mall. “Only those who worked in the mall know about the need to sell,” he emphasizes.
In search of professional growth, Cynthia took advantage of an important opportunity at the age of 18. She migrated to the banking system. He later served as the agency’s CEO. Faced with this sacrifice and commitment, Cynthia landed the position of manager of the Midwest. However, this was not enough for a young woman who wanted to take on a new venture.
Hours of entrepreneurial research and analysis led Cíntia to acquire its first food franchise. At that time she was 24 years old. Three years later, the businesswoman had partnerships with more than 12 restaurants of different brands. Taking steps in her career, Paraiba from Brazil did not fail to invest in training in order to manage the business well.
First, the co-founder of Panelinhas do Brasil graduated in Business Administration from the Catholic University of Brasilia (UCB) in 2018. At the beginning of the year, it was her turn to get her degree in gastronomy from Iesb. If you thought that Cíntia already boasted both formations when the franchised Brazilian restaurant chain launched in 2013, you were wrong.
“At Panelinhas do Brasil, like any other company, everything revolves around selling brands, products, services and experiences.”
Responsible for important work
The first restaurant was created in 2012 by Luis Carlos Carvalho, still far from franchising. However, the company had already introduced the Panelinhas do Brasil brand and served food in the famous ceramic pots. “In 2013, my ex-husband and partner Eric Furtado found out about this operation and decided to buy the brand and turn it into a franchise chain. It was up to me to bring this idea to fruition,” says Cynthia.
At first, Paraíba was engaged in the sale of franchises, and with the opening of restaurants, it began to deal with team training and the quality of services provided to franchisees. “As the network grew, I began to focus on expanding the brand in other states. Currently, the management of the franchisor and the franchise network is carried out by professionals captured by the market,” he says.
The businesswoman jokes that in Brazil, an entrepreneur is “a mixture of a hero and a madman.” “He is a hero because he has to deal with all the government bureaucracy, archaic legislation and the stigma of dishonesty; crazy, because only he, the businessman, sees the possibility of realizing this dream. And we saw a growing market for food franchises and, in particular, typical Brazilian dishes,” she says.
But why typical Brazilian food? “If you go to the food court in any mall today, you will see that we have Japanese, Italian, American, Chinese, meat restaurants, etc. But we do not have a store that sells typical Brazilian dishes; In fact, we didn’t! Panelinhas do Brasil sells this experience, a regional food that reminds you of home, of your home state. My favorite dishes are Galinhada com Pequi and Baião de Dois, great examples of Brazilian cuisine,” he shares.
The co-founder of the brand speaks about the problems that women entrepreneurs face today.
“Among so many challenges, one of the main ones is respect, there is no doubt about it. It was common to attend an important meeting, and the interviewee asked me when the company representative would arrive. Machismo is present in all spheres, but especially in relations with public authorities. We women suffer from this lack of respect at home, at work and in everyday life. We cannot lower our heads and must respond to this professionally and competently. We owe nothing, absolutely nothing, in regards to work designed by men who, when they want, become wonderful partners in life and work,” says Cynthia Lins.
Panelinhas do Brasil currently has 15 restaurants “scattered throughout Brazil”. Gastronomic etiquette not only makes customers sigh, but also helps those in need in social projects. In fact, one of them was fundamental to keeping “all employees” employed during the pandemic. One way the trio of partners continued to work was to partner with companies and government agencies.
“I am very proud of this! As everyone knows, the restaurant industry, especially those operating in shopping malls, has been hit hard by the pandemic. Without the ability to function, restaurants will lose their entire supply of food, and cooks will lose their jobs. This is how we came up with the idea to provide free food to the low-income population of the Federal District, which has also been hit hard by the consequences of the pandemic,” says the partner. “The cooks kept their jobs and were engaged in the production of hot dishes, and the products were bought with donations from friends and business partners. In short, it was a social action to save jobs and satisfy the hunger of those most in need, all through donations from people who care about others,” he adds.
By 2023, the owners plan to increase the growth of Panelinhas do Brasil by about 20%. To achieve the goal, they launched new products and sales channels. “Next month, June 22-25, we will be exhibiting at the ABF Franchising Expo in São Paulo with the aim of doing new business and opening new locations in the southwest region, where we are currently strategically focused. Therefore, if interested parties appear, we will not fail to evaluate opportunities in other regions as well,” he adds.
“Today, together with my two partners, I focused on the strategic area, on the vision of the future. We see incredible potential for expansion to other countries and in the technological revolution in working with consumers. Our projects revolve around that.”
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