After working multiple jobs and living paycheck to paycheck to save up $40,000, Adelo Ramirez invested in himself. He sank his savings into a small restaurant Los Gemelos where he would make his own tortillas. His investment was paying off while growing in popularity and revenue. After several years of success and growth, Adelo decided to start making tortillas that he would sell in other Mexican restaurants.
At the height of his success, Adelo was generating close to $500,000 in revenue yearly. Then a large American tortilla company, Mission Foods, began soaking up the local marketplace. His sales plummeted rapidly and the business was in trouble.
Adelo looked to The Profit’s Marcus Lemonis, who met Adelo through mutual friend George Lopez. Marcus was anxious to take a close look at the large and growing Hispanic food market.
Los Gemelos on The Profit
The Profit Season 4 Episode 10
Adelo takes great pride in Los Gemelos. Marcus could see it in his face and hear it in his voice as he was shown the wood oven in the kitchen and the articles about the restaurant hung on the wall in the corner. He worked three jobs to save the money to start Los Gemelos. Early success allowed Adelo to buy a tortilla machine leading to working full time on tortilla production.
He opened doors of the Los Gemelos tortilla factory in 2006 and saw great success and potential for the future. Four years later, after success on the West Coast, the large Mission Foods company expanded to the east with a huge marketing budget and a recognizable brand. Annual revenue was slashed nearly in half. Marcus told Adelo that he was not too interested in investing in a restaurant, but was intrigued by the tortilla business, despite the challenges of competing with Mission Foods.
The first thing Marcus noticed when Adelo showed him the tortilla factory operations was that lack of precision and organization. Tortillas were made by guessing the ingredient amounts and mixtures using a machine that was not even legally available in the United States because of safety issues. There was no direct access from the production line to the shipping and receiving areas.
Employees seemed happy with the conditions and liked Adelo’s attitude and demeanor, though one of the team told Marcus that he was still owed money for work done. After digging a little further into the finances of the business, he found Adelo was not only behind on payroll, he had other liabilities, as well. The more he looked, the more Marcus became convinced the business was on borrowed time. Los Gemelos could only support about $2,400 in gross revenue, leaving under $200 after daily operating costs.
Though disappointed in the financial state of the business, Marcus was quite impressed with how Adelo ran his business and treated his employees. He told Adelo that the Los Gemelos’ tortilla factory was not working and would have to be shut down. Adelo wondered what Marcus’ plan was and what his future held.
To Adelo’s pleasant surprise, Marcus brought in George Lopez. Marcus offered a $150,000 investment to start a new Hispanic food business, with the three of them as equal partners. Adelo would be in charge of the food, George the marketing, and Marcus would handle the financials and business management end of the company. The deal also included an additional $50,000 to pay past wages for Adelo’s staff. Adelo was thrilled and the three agreed to the deal.
Marcus and Adelo went to work researching the latest in Mexican and Hispanic food choices and trends. They went to a major grocery chain to price out some of the ingredients Adelo planned to use and found a number of the items necessary for Adelo’s niche Mexican recipes were expensive or hard to find. A trip to a large Hispanic food distributor kept leading them back to the three staples of the Hispanic food market – tortillas, chips, and salsa.
Though the employees’ back pay was taken care of, Marcus became increasingly concerned about Adelo’s attention to detail and follow-through. The old, unsafe machinery in the old factory had not been sold. Adelo admitted that he needed to get better at communication and would work at it.
When Marcus sat down to taste some of Adelo’s salsa creations, he noticed that again they were not written down or otherwise documented. Adelo was going by memory and experience. Marcus did love the salsa and Adelo realized a system was needed to provide consistently good salsa for the new restaurant. He used more mainstream ingredients like sweeter, less acidic tomatoes.
Marcus and Adelo secured a deal with a local, family-owned tortilla company, La Fortalezza, and a salsa manufacturer. Things were going along smoothly and Adelo was communicating well. However, they still needed to come up with a logo and name.
Adelo presented drafts of a logo and brand name called “Ta Loco,” based one of George’s standup routines. Marcus loved the look and the name and felt it was ready to present to George. The three partners met at a neighborhood restaurant. George was impressed with the food and the logo, as well as the artwork that featured his image.
The last step in the process would be to present their products to retailers. Adelo made an impressive presentation to Sam’s Club to have them pick up the Ta Loco brand for their locations. Focusing on the connection to George Lopez and the authenticity of the product, Adelo was able to finalize the deal.
Where Are They Now? Los Gemelos After The Profit
Los Gemelos the restaurant is no longer in operation and the company is the sole owner of the Ta Loco brand. However, at this writing, the business has not opened and there is no information available on a timeframe for when it might.
Adelo is active on social media and lists his employment at “Ta Loco, 2017-present,” but provides no information on any upcoming movement on the business. The website for Los Gemelos is still active, but the contact information is incorrect or no longer valid.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is strictly informational; INSIGNIA SEO is not affiliated with Los Gemelos, The Profit, or any of its subsidiaries.