Manezinho who makes good food: Restaurante do Costinha.

AutorRaymundo, Pedro Jose


Saturday afternoon, a warm sunny beach, in the summer of 2019, in the south of Ilha de Santa Catarina (Florianopolis), the restaurant was packed, and many people were waiting to be served. Mariana, wife, and partner of Mr. Aquiles Costa, better known as Costinha, went to help clear one of the tables where they had served lunch to a family of four. The restaurant, specialized in seafood, with five years of existence and very well attended, had the special care of Mariana. She took care of marketing and cash flow, and had seen the financial results going from strength to strength.

But at that moment she was shocked. With a pang in her heart, she dumped nearly half of the food from that table into the trash. There were leftovers from the shrimp side dishes (rice, salads, mush (pirao), beans, bean broth, farofa and potatoes). When the busy period in the restaurant had died down and the last customers had left, Mariana vented her frustration:

- Costinha! From just one table alone that I helped to clear, more than a kilo of food was thrown away. How could this happen? Costinha was the partner in charge of the kitchen's production and was taken by surprise by Mariana's questioning. Even without quite knowing how to answer, he argued:

- Don't worry so much, Mariana! I don't think it's always like that. Anyway, look on the bright side, even if there is a lot of food left on the tables, the customer has paid for it all. In the case of this customer, for example, he must have paid at least R$300 in all. - Yes, Costinha, we are growing a lot and seeing excellent financial results, but we can't ignore this serious problem of food waste, Mariana replied. At Mariana's insistence, they talked to all the employees about the issue. They found that it was very common for customers to leave a lot of food on their plates, especially from the large portions of accompaniments.

Given this situation, Costinha thought better of the matter and added:

- So, Mariana! I don't know, but for me the biggest problem is being able to reduce waste without losing customers, who are used to being offered large quantities of food. Mariana's agony when witnessing the amount of wasted food, on just one table, is understandable. She recently started new sustainable practices in the restaurant, thinking about the environmental impacts on its surroundings.


To understand how the restaurant was positioned in the Florianopolis market, it is necessary to go back to the past. It all started with a dream, which came to fruition through hard work. The dedication of the two partners, who had a lot of life experience, was an integral part of this success. Costinha, with his special technical and professional knowledge in gastronomy and Mariana, acting as administrator, with specialized studies in planning and marketing. They were celebrating their second wedding anniversary when they began renovating a rented property, which had a spacious building and ample land.

With a very significant investment, they spent all their savings and even took out family loans, which were paid off as soon as the restaurant started to show positive returns. In the beginning, there were many setbacks, such as the lack of resources for the initial investment, which totaled R$173,270, which should fully depreciate after five years.

Another difficulty was the small number of employees, just one chef, an assistant and two waiters. Even so, they managed to kick-start the realization of their dream, with Restaurante do Costinha, inaugurated in March 2015. The name of the restaurant is the nickname affectionately given to Costinha by his uncle Joao, with whom he worked for many years and had a father--son relationship.

Mariana, with her experience in administration and marketing, and a focus on customer satisfaction, was always attentive. In relation to market competition, she asked Costinha:

- Costinha! The competition in the area of seafood is very high. You know that, right!? - Of course, Mariana! That's why we're going to have to do a good job, replied Costinha. - That's right! We also must follow our planning very carefully and differentiate ourselves, with excellent service, argued Mariana. They invested in marketing campaigns and paid for publicity ads, which were viewed on social media. In addition, thinking of ways to win customers, Mariana planned low-cost dishes and some free courtesy items for new visitors. To ensure the customers would be delighted, Costinha looked closely at each service, instructing the employees to always wait upon the tables with a smile and provide prompt service.

Besides being the owner, Costinha was also the manager and a waiter. Through quality service, customer recommendations, use of social media marketing and apps, the restaurant achieved true financial success after five years.

The company

Restaurante do Costinha was set up by the two partners, Costinha and Mariana, who have had entrepreneurial interests from an early age. Costinha is 45 years old and was born in Florianopolis. His entrepreneurial spirit was inspired by his uncle, at restaurant he worked since he was young. Hence, Costinha has always worked in the area of gastronomy. He would peel potatoes, wash dishes, take out the garbage and charge the customers, but what he enjoyed most was cooking.

He took a technical course in gastronomy and went on to fulfill his dream of opening his own restaurant. He shared all this with Mariana, to whom he has been married for seven years, building a story not only of his personal life, but also of professional achievement.

With experience, Mariana kept the cash flow in order and helped with various other tasks. A big contributing factor to the success of the restaurant, in addition to Costinha's experience, the location of the restaurant, and the customer's preference for seafood, was the marketing plan drawn up by Mariana. She created budgets that included all the forecast costs, investments and returns.

In addition to this financial perspective, Mariana's entrepreneurial spirit led her to propose ideas on issues such as environmental impacts on the community and sustainable practices with clients. These included prioritizing local suppliers who work with organic products through family farming, contributing to the preservation of natural resources. Through these initiatives, she was able to steer the restaurant towards a healthy eating style, with less impacts on the environment.

Mariana found that in Florianopolis, approximately 4000 search per month are conducted on health eating. This information helped Mariana make Costinha aware of the importance of a menu aimed at this audience. Sustainability was always a key part of Mariana's plans, and for this, she needed her partner's support.

The restaurant is typical of the region. It is next to the sea, in the south of Ilha de Santa Catarina, in the municipality of Florianopolis. Its characteristics are specialization in fish and seafood; five years in existence; eight employees (six working in the kitchen and six in the restaurant), annual costs of 470.7 thousand Brazilian reals, including all labor charges, in addition to the salaries of Mariana and Costinha. Mariana seeks to hire employees from the local region, thinking about the professional insertion of these people and also to facilitate the restaurant's engagement in local social activities such as oyster parties, fetes and activities on commemorative dates, whether religious or secular.

With a turnover of up to 1.5 times in its 100 seats, the restaurant can serve up to 150 customers per day. It is open every day of the week, except Mondays, and provides a la carte service, with a menu that gives the names of the dishes, accompaniments and portions, and their respective selling prices. There are more than 80 options on the menu, including starters, salads and mains.

Each year, it serves an average of 28 thousand customers, and in the summer season alone, from December to March, this number is close to 16 thousand. Between April and November, the less busy months, Mariana adjusts the employees' schedules accordingly. This flexibility is subject to training courses that compensate for the reduction in working hours.

The decor is another feature that delights customers, making them feel welcome and at ease. Mariana and Costinha planned a family-oriented environment, with various plants and a mini aquarium to delight children and adults alike. The decor is inspired around a theme of fishing and the sea, while the furniture has a beachy feel. Various pictures decorate the walls, showing local scenery and dialect.

The lighting is warm, with cozy wooden light fittings. At night, the restaurant reserves more intimate tables for romantic couples, close to plants. Special areas are prepared for celebrations, such as Valentine's Day and birthdays.

Concerning the ambience and decor of restaurant, Mariana sighed happily, at the end of a busy night:

- Costinha, this music played in our restaurant is perfect! Bossa nova, samba and reggae accompanying the customer's conversations, together with their families, enjoying all this comfort and the tasty dishes, it a dream come true!

The two-story restaurant has a beautiful view of the sea. Guests can admire the island's natural beauty in an easily accessible region, with free parking. In the background, there is a pretty garden with a play area for children.

However, the restaurant has to pay 180 thousand reals a year in rent. The lease is on a five-year contract, and the rent is adjusted for annual inflation: IPCA. Other expenses and fixed expenses amount to 350 thousand reals per year, which includes costs like water, energy, internet, insurance, fees, equipment maintenance and replacement of utensils such as dishes and cutlery.

The restaurant fits into the taxation model of the Simples Nacional law, a tax collection system for micro and small businesses that simplifies the...

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