Robin Madera was exposed to the hospitality industry at an early age, having grown up around her grandfather’s restaurant. Richard Zarn, who started his business in Santa Barbara, Calif. in the 1970s, called his eatery Omelets Etc.
Though his restaurant only lasted a few years, in 2010 Robin and her husband, Juan Madera, decided to resurrect the Omelets Etc. concept in Colorado Springs. Juan and Robin even kept a few of Zarn’s original recipes.
“I had the desire to do it and thought, ‘Why not?’” Juan said.
Juan, Robin, Juan’s sister and his sister-in-law — as well as a few other family members — work at Omelets Etc. to help keep the business running.
Restaurants have been a major part of Juan’s life as well. Before owning his own eatery, he started out at Denny’s and was also employed at Olive Garden and the International House of Pancakes.
“It has been my whole life. I liked it and I wouldn’t change it,” he said.
“Interacting with customers and people, that’s something I enjoy.”
Transitioning the skills he learned from previous work in the restaurant industry and applying them to restaurant ownership has gone well, said Madera, and his business, seven years later, has built a solid customer base.
Madera said Colorado Springs has been such a great location that he decided to grow his business and open a second location across town in May.
“We are always going to be here. I think Colorado Springs has a mixture of cultures, a mixture of people. It has a mix of generations and ages and races,” he said. “One of the most amazing things about this town is it has people from everywhere. It’s interesting to find all these different cultures. Everyone is from somewhere else, pretty much.”
The new Omelets Etc. location is off South Academy Boulevard. Between both locations, Madera said he now has around 25 employees.
He opened the new restaurant with nine employees.
“It was the right place and the right time. Why wait?” Madera said.
He has not yet done much advertising for the second location, but is working to make sure the new spot is running smoothly, saying, “We’re just going to play it one day at a time. My goal is to establish the other one as well as this one by the end of the year.”
He said he has high expectations for both locations, so employee performance must always be above par.
“One thing that is important to me is that my employees are doing what they should be doing at all times,” he said. “I want to make sure that if I’m not in the store, that it runs better whether I’m there or not. It’s important for me that my employees do what’s best for the business and for the customers. It gives me peace of mind.”
Madera frequently helps out at both locations to ensure his employees and the businesses are performing well. From grabbing to-go orders to working the cash register, he actively participates in multiple aspects of his business.
“The restaurant business is one of the toughest businesses out there,” he said. “But it doesn’t matter if it’s the restaurant business or another business, my advice to anybody no matter who it is: Do your research and your homework. Some people can make it look easy, but running a business is not easy.”