FEATURED MEMBER - Alvaro Perez
Interview - August 2004
Founder & President
Venezuelan-born Perez lived in Italy and then Los Angeles where he started off as a waiter in Beverly Hills. He managed Il Forno in Santa Monica and then came to Japan in 1991 to open Il Forno in Roppongi. In 1995, he became co-founder of Still Foods where he was in charge of
concept design, concept development, market research and operations.
During his time in Japan, Perez has opened or been involved in around 50
restaurants. He established Metromet in May 2002 and among his clients are IDEE, Garde U.S.P., Prior Palace, CIA and Shidax.
Interview with Alvaro:
1. When did you start your first business? What was it? What lessons did you take away from that experience?
I started a "Clown service" for children's parties when I was 15 years old and it gave me enormous pleasure to make them happy...I threw myself on the pool and did things that usual clowns didn't do.
2. What are some of the challenges you have faced in starting your business and how did you overcome them?
Not to been able to get a bank loan, even with a great business
plan...so I decided to build up the company on the consulting side until we get the right chance to open our own restaurant.
3. How did you form your business? (Yugen Kaisha, Kabushiki Kaisha, etc.) How long did the start-up process take?
Yugen Kaisha because there was not enough money for a KK and I hired a lawyer to help me through the process which took about 3 weeks.
4. Where do you see your business in 5 years?
To have a restaurant which is our showcase and pioneering the service and hospitality business in Asia.
5. Do you see yourself as an entrepreneur? Why?
I see myself as an artist trying to do business...because I enjoy more the creative side of the business and motivating people.
6. What is your definition of an entrepreneur?
To have a vision...and to find the best way to get there without giving up...!
7. What piece of advice would you give to a person wanting to start his or her own business in Japan?
To understand the real meaning of "PATIENT"
8. Can you recommend any resources such as books, websites, or support centers for entrepreneurs in Japan?
My own philosophy : Follow your passion and success will follow !
9. Who are your mentors in business?
Mr. Joseph Suceveanu, is still my mentor...I started with him when I
was 18 yo and still we are very close...he's the owner of the 1st restaurant that I ever worked.
10. What makes you happy?
To make people happy !