After fruitful careers at Black & Decker, Disney, Hewlett-Packard and United Distillers, along with a couple of Internet startups, Michel Algazi and Roni Goldberg wanted to launch a food company. It’s what they always wanted to do. As kids growing up in Mexico, they had rich memories of enjoying tasty Mexican treats. As they grew older, they became very proud of their native country’s rich cuisines and flavorsome dishes.
One thing that helped influence Algazi and Goldberg to start a food company were signs that Americans were increasingly receptive to good quality Mexican food. It was 2002. Two very successful restaurant chains, Chipotle and Baja Fresh, featured Mexican cuisines. They were also influenced by Haagen-Dazs’ decision in 1997 to introduce an ice cream flavor called Dulce de leche. Dulce de leche is a traditional candy in Mexico and South American. The name literally means “milk candy” in Spanish. Since its introduction, Dulce de leche has become one of Haagen-Dazs’ top selling brands.
After considering several alternatives and partly in light of Haagen-Dazs’ positive experience, Algazi and Goldberg decided to create a line of Mexican-style frozen desserts. But they weren’t in a hurry. They knew it would be painful to go through a period with no income while they got their company started, but they wanted to do it right. Since coming to America, they had seen many food brands rushed to market, and then scramble and regroup as they reacted to market tastes. In contrast to this approach, they committed themselves to a process of product feasibility analysis, market testing, and branding that would give them the best possible chance of getting it right the first time.
Developing the Product and Picking a Name
As kids in Mexico, one of Alagzi and Goldberg’s most salient memories was going to fruit stands and treating themselves to sliced fruits and vegetables that were sprinkled with lime, salt and chili. This experience... [continues]
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