Local business owner invests in diversity to help his employees thrive

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Lunch time is crunch time at Yosemite Falls Caf? in North Fresno-- co-owner Fidel Bonilla is a hands on boss. (KFSN)

Lunch time is crunch time at Yosemite Falls Café in North Fresno-- co-owner Fidel Bonilla is a hands on boss.

"Customers will not recognize that we are the owners because we work just like anybody here-- side by side."

Bonilla co-owns four Yosemite Falls Cafe restaurants and expects more than $12-million in sales this year-- but his journey wasn't easy.

"I'm from El Salvador, we had 14 years of war, it was bad. A million people died in less than 12, 13 years."

Bonilla came to the United States with little money and didn't speak English.

"When we come to this country to me everything was new. Number one I had to learn everything. Learn the language which was one of those things and to me by doing that I had to learn also how to deal with different people."

Bonilla encourages his employees to learn new skills and to always put customers first.

"I have a way to the staff, when you give the change back, make sure you put it on the customer's hand. I don't like it when they put it on the table or on the corner right there, then people are picking up the change with their hand."

The company has 400 employees from diverse backgrounds.

Donna Dizon-Gutierrez migrated from the Philippines and speaks four languages. She worked her way up and is now a General Manager.

"I think it's a positive experience for most of my employees that they can be in this kind of environment, because we're not only working with their schedules or not only one person is like it's all white or it's all black we're all mixed."

Diversity in the workforce sparks innovation. According to Brazen.com, a mix of perspectives leads to enhanced creativity, fuller understanding of market issues, fresher ideas, and more spontaneous breakthroughs.

"We help each other, if there are certain things they don't know I try to teach them or if there is something I don't know about certain things then they teach me," said Dizon-Gutierrez.

Bonilla said giving back to the community is also important. Every year, the company holds a customer appreciation event for veterans.

"Every single person that comes to your business is a blessing and you got to treat them with respect and at the same time, take care of them."

Good service, a diverse menu and diverse staff is a recipe that can lead to a taste of success.

"This country has everything for everybody. You want to be successful you can be because we have the opportunity, the freedom, and you can be whatever you want," said Bonilla.

Bonilla said if he can overcome obstacles, anyone can. He encourages his employees to further their education and take advantage of training opportunities.

Related Topics:
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