From Venezuelan Tourist to Australian Entrepreneur
When you think of cuisine in Sydney, Australia, you probably don’t think Latin American, let alone Venezuelan.
That’s exactly what Arepas Australia owner and NCR Silver customer Ybrahim Camero was thinking when he opened his Venezuelan-themed market stall in 2016.
Arepas – a savory cross between a taco and a sandwich – were virtually unheard of in the area. You’d be better pressed to find Asian street food there than something from the other side of the hemisphere.
Camero and his wife left their home country in 2006 to find a better life, after falling in love with Sydney during a vacation.
He found work at an online gambling company focused on poker. Due to market and regulatory issues, Camero found himself laid off years later. That’s when he saw his “blessing in disguise.”
Camero and his wife, who he says is passionate about food, decided to pull the trigger on their life dream.
“We always wanted to do something entrepreneurial that was food related,” Camero says. “So we started getting the business plan ready and did market research. We knew it was time.”
Fast forward a year, and he’s already working on his fourth location, in addition to the Glebe Market. He says the timing is good.
“What we do here is quite unique,” Camero says. “In the U.S., arepas are more popular, and are starting to get trendy. I do believe we’re hitting the market at a perfect time.”
Camero’s arepas, in case you’re wondering, are made with corn flour and mixed with vegetables such as beetroot to add saturated color and nutrition. Ingredients such as shredded beef, avocado and cheese are stuffed inside, leading to a crunchy-ish exterior and soft, steamy and savory interior.
Taking the next step: A mobile POS system
As Camero began adding more outdoor market stalls, he needed a mobile POS solution that could help with sales reporting and other business-management tasks. He settled on NCR Silver Pro Restaurant on iPad.
As NCR Silver just expanded into Australia, Camero is one of the first customers. The international expansion follows the POS system’s entrance into the UK.
So far, Camero’s favorite feature on the app is the Silver Scoreboard, which offers a quick look at sales and other popular metrics without a visit to the back office.
In addition to the potential to bust lines with a mobile iPad, he also uses the system to easily deploy email marketing campaigns. Addresses can be collected at the point of sale and emails campaigns can be managed from the back office.
“I find it very user-friendly and easy to use,” he says. “With NCR Silver, I can see trends, I can do email marketing, I can see what my top seller is. It’s a super comprehensive system that gives me everything I need.”
Entrepreneur challenge No. 1: Education
He speculates that 90 percent of potential Aussie consumers he sees don’t know what an arepa is. As a result, he’s spent a considerable amount of time stopping passers-by and proselytizing.
“We give this speech hundreds of times a day,” Camero says. “After the speech, most of them just say: ‘Ok, you sold me, I am in,’ and a lot of them come back to express their appreciation.”
Camero also spends time educating via his social media sites. One recent Facebook post explains what’s inside the green arepa – kale and coriander – and that they, by nature, are gluten free.
To have gotten here is no easy task. His biggest advice centers on passion for what you do and being surrounded by the right people.
“Believe in yourself and in your product,” Camero says. “Put passion in every single step of the process. Get surrounded by the best people you might know, seek their advice, listen, research and work.”