Business Plan Challenge

Software helps chefs run the restaurant. But the cooking is up to them.

In 2010, entrepreneur and software programmer Robert Vasquez won the Challenge with Kitchen Porter Tech. It is now known as Recipe-Costing.com.
In 2010, entrepreneur and software programmer Robert Vasquez won the Challenge with Kitchen Porter Tech. It is now known as Recipe-Costing.com. Miami Herald File

It’s 2018, a time when most startups no longer require major investments in physical space or tools.

Which is why Robert Vasquez, founder of 2010 winner Kitchen Porter Tech, says that he could run his business from anywhere. He works with a tech support team in Orlando. His developers and other support team members are based in Seattle and India (in addition to Miami).

“If we ever have to ‘meet,’ because the whole company is virtual, everything is done on the cloud,” he says.

But he’s chosen to stay right here in the Magic City — literally not leaving home: He runs the company, now marketed as Recipe-Costing.com, from a converted room in his house in West Kendall.

Vasquez originally created the web-based application to connect restaurateurs, management, staff, vendors, customers and franchise operators to manage back-office operations. Business Plan Challenge judges praised the company’s team expertise, low startup costs, and the fact that it seemed to fill a market need.

They also liked the fact that the software was already starting to draw subscriptions. A decade later, Vasquez’s company has more than 3,000 subscribers in 137 countries who use Recipe Costing’s software, alongside a new point-of-sale system, to manage their restaurants.

Vasquez toiled away in the restaurant business for over a decade while attending college. After graduating from NOVA Southeastern University, he worked as a financial controller and software developer before deciding he wanted to own and operate his own restaurants.

That gave him the necessary background to launch a software package that is still thriving in the hyper-competitive hospitality industry. Today, Vasquez says his clients range from New York City’s famous Magnolia Bakery cupcake shop to telecom and payments platform Verifone, which plans to work with more hospitality merchants.

Despite its small physical footprint in the Magic City, Vasquez still feels a strong attachment to the community, where he’s now lived for 28 years.

“Having so much hospitality and tourism business around here is good for us — we’re able to go after new clients all the time,” he said. “And you can’t beat the weather.”

An earlier version of this story contained mispellings of the name of Robert Vasquez, the head of Recipe-Costing.com.

2010 winner Recipe-Costing

Original name: Kitchen Porter Tech

Keys to success:

▪ Not giving up

▪ Debt is less expensive than equity

▪ Hire a business attorney and CPA as soon as you can. “This can be done relatively inexpensively since many of these services are now offered virtually,” Vasquez says. “You can find an attorney and CPA in your area that works on a monthly subscription basis. They offer low entry and charge based on your needs. The more successful you are, the more you need their services, and it's well worth the initial monthly subscriptions.”

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