Today we’d like to introduce you to Ana Karina Suchánek.
Hi Ana Karina, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I grew up in a small village Mexico called Tuxpan, Jalisco. After I graduated with a degree in business for university, I got a job working for Bancomex who offered me a better paying position if I could speak conversational English, I decided to move to the United States to get a job in hospitality so I could practice and improve my English. I decided to get a job as a cashier at a restaurant called Cowboy Burgers & BBQ. Over the course of my time working there, I was promoted to manager and then tasked with running multiple locations. Eventually, I went on to purchase two of the locations (one was the very location that I got my first job) with the intention of possibly buying the whole chain from the original owner. It didn’t take me very long to realize that being a manager and owner are two entirely different things. This forced me to think about the restaurant business in new and exciting ways. I realized that to be successful, I would need to rework the menu, build better systems and probably rebrand. I later decided to close one and rebrand the other to what it is today, Hitch Burger!
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It certainly has not always been smooth sailing. The restaurant business is not an easy business to be in plus I purchased my first location in June of 2008 and as we all know the market crashed so I started with one hand tied behind my back. Also, when I first moved to the U.S., I had to learn to speak English fluently in addition to learning the business. After purchasing the second Cowboy Burgers & BBQ locations, I quickly realized the true state of the restaurant and knew it would not be sustainable. We chose to focus our time and expertise on the one location and make it the best it could possibly be. Through working with test kitchens and chefs, I made menu changes and rebranded with Firm Media, my husband’s marketing agency. Together we were able to find our official brand position and become more successful year over year.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
We currently have one restaurant location, The Hitch Burger Grill, in Rancho Cucamonga, with a second location in the Claremont area opening mid-year. We are known for our specialty burgers and quality breakfast selections. Our slogan “where giving back never tasting so good” is not just a slogan. My husband and I started a nonprofit called Project Boon in 2010 as a way to give back to the community through our for-profit businesses and provide volunteer opportunities. In 2020, we served 20,000 meals to families in our community with a goal of 30,000 in 2021. Our mission is simple, we strive to help underserved families make ends meet during the holidays all year long.
What matters most to you?
First and foremost, I want to create a great company that stands for something besides selling widgets and making money. Birthed out of my experience in the restaurant industry and the transformational experience of failure, I have been inspired to create a sustainable and profitable business. You often hear people say that failure is the pillar of success and I have learned so much from the failure of my second venture. This motivates me to work hard, stay true to myself, and become a game-changer in the community.
- Email: karina@CASKSgroup.com
- Website: https://hitchburger.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hitchburger/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheHitchBurgerGrill
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-hitch-burger-grill-rancho-cucamonga-4
Chris Suchanek – Firm Media