From Food Cart To Food Empire

From Food Cart To Food Empire

No doubt, Latin@s are the hardest working people on the planet. From our parents’ Fabuloso cleaning marathons – to those selling flowers at freeway offramps – to the staff running the world’s finest hotels and restaurants. We see you. 

Thanks to our tireless and persevering ancestors, we are born with a magical-fuel that runs through every vein in our body. But it is up to us to decide whether we use it or not.

Join SUMA this Hispanic Heritage Month, as we present individuals – each starting from very minimal – who used their endurance, passion, and pain to pursue their dreams. 

Every success begins with an idea. Hopefully, they will inspire you to pursue yours.

Paul Peñuelas is the owner of Mariscos El Perihuete, a successful, California-based restaurant that specializes in Mexican seafood dishes – with locations in Paramount and Lynwood. 



According to Hablemos Fuerte, Paul arrived in Los Angeles at 19 years-old. He stayed with his sister and sold mangos while working in the welding industry. It wasn’t till he started selling ceviche in a local park that his calling would find him. 

The demand for his food became so high, he was able to open a small restaurant in Southgate. His food was a hit – but with only five tables, he knew he needed a larger restaurant. Five years later, he opened the Paramount location.



Paul’s advice is to work hard. It’s the love for what you do that keeps you going. 

Here are his top 4 rules to run a successful restaurant: 

  1. Sell good quality food. Your customers should leave happy.
  2. Treat customers like familia. You want them to keep coming back.
  3. Communicate with your employees. Treat them with respect. There are many opportunities elsewhere to choose from.
  4. Handle the finances. Know what’s happening with the business side of things at all times.



When asked what gives him the motivation to go to work each day, he says, “I’m the boss and I have to set an example.” Paul also thanks his family for helping him get started. If it wasn’t for them, he wouldn’t have any success. He also says it’s important to “pass the light” and help others whenever you can.



Paul agrees that in today’s restaurant industry, presentation is everything – especially since customers take pictures of their food and post to social media. Also, there’s a lot more competition. But to achieve the best results, bring authenticity and consistency to your menu.

Recently, Mariscos El Perihuete, in Paramount, was the first restaurant chosen in the “Health First L.A.” program – giving customers serving size options and incorporating more fruits and vegetables. Seems there’s no end to Paul’s journey!

Has Paul inspired you to take the first step to your entrepreneurial goals? Be sure to download the SUMA app and sign-up for the Wealth Building Membership. We provide easy-to-follow instructions to get your finances in order – so you can start your business journey. We believe in you, mij@!

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