Crepes & Waffles is easily one of Colombia’s favorite restaurants. It offers hearty, tasty, and thought-out dishes at affordable prices. On top of pleasing customers, it is a socially conscious company with a focus on sustainability and women’s employability. Co-founder Beatriz Fernández is at the heart of this peculiar business. Find out more about her life and vision here.
The story of Crepes & Waffles
Beatriz Fernández co-founded Crepes & Waffles in 1980 with her then-boyfriend (and later on husband) Eduardo Macía. Inspired by the food they had tried in Europe, they set up shop in a small garage in Bogotá when they were still business school students (Guevara, 2019).
Through trial and error and bolstered by their drive, the family business grew into what it is today. Four decades later, Crepes & Waffles has close to a hundred locations in Colombia. It also welcomes patrons in Mexico, Panama, Ecuador, Chile, and Spain (Guevara, 2019). The company currently employs nearly six thousand people –92% of them are women, most of them single mothers (Semana, 2021).
Moreover, it is a certified B corporation –a for-profit business using its power to develop a more inclusive, sustainable economy. It upholds high standards in social and environmental performance, transparency, and corporate sustainability (Crepes & Waffles, 2021).
Nowadays, Fernández’s brand is invested in actively contributing to peacebuilding in the country and highlighting Colombian beauty. By sourcing ingredients from vulnerable communities in war-impacted areas, the company helps them stay a legal business. Furthermore, it also engages in sustainable sourcing practices, like regenerative agriculture (Guevara, 2019).
What the future holds
Intuition is something that has always set Crepes & Waffles apart from other companies. Fernández says the brand will continue to follow it when facing new challenges. Likewise, they will stick to their values and operate with confidence in their know-how. All while innovating to stay at the forefront of the market (Portafolio, 2019).
The Beatriz Fernández way of doing business
For Fernández, the success of her brand sits on multiple pillars (Portafolio, 2019). On one side is the food. Crepes & Waffles made innovative cuisine culture available for people of different backgrounds in Colombia. From crepes filled with flavors from around the world to elaborate and always-fresh salads to artisan ice cream.
The characteristic brand style also holds up the company. Its restaurants all follow the same clean and elegant architecture and decoration scheme that is welcoming and familiar.
Finally, the very concept of Crepes & Waffles has contributed to its performance. Fernández says it is a people-first vision that focuses on empowering women to improve the company, their families, and society as a whole. In her own words, “employing women gives businesses a soul.” (Semana, 2021).
Her compassionate leadership not only makes her a standout among Bogotá women and Colombian females in business. It also becomes real-life benefits for her workforce. The company provides premium health insurance, housing programs, and ongoing training. It is also a diverse work environment, as it regularly hires people of color (Guevara, 2019).
Fernández says her unique take on doing business comes from the experience of her father’s bankruptcy. When his food importing business crashed, she fought side by side with family members and employees. Like her father, she cherishes generosity and the simple pleasure of making people happy (Guevara, 2019). This is how a family-owned enterprise evolved into a solid, prosperous company without never compromising its vision. Today, Beatriz Fernández and Eduardo Macía’s goal to inspire admiration and joy among their customers is fulfilled daily.
Crepes & Waffles. (2021). Crepes&Waffles, Empresa B Certificada ® desde el 2016. [Blog message] https://crepesywaffles.com/blog/crepeswaffles-empresa-b-certificada-r-desde-el-2016
Guevara, P. (2019). Las inspiradoras lecciones que nos compartió la fundadora de Crepes & Waffles. El País. https://www.elpais.com.co/economia/crepes-and-waffles-las-inspiradoras-lecciones-de-su-fundadora.html
Portafolio. (2019). Crepes & Waffles: ‘desde el comienzo, algo más que un buen negocio’. https://www.portafolio.co/negocios/crepes-waffles-desde-el-comienzo-algo-mas-que-un-buen-negocio-534931
Semana. (2021). Dueña de Crepes & Waffles revela el secreto de su éxito en la industria gastronómica. https://www.semana.com/economia/empresas/articulo/duena-de-crepes-waffles-revela-el-secreto-de-su-exito-en-la-industria-gastronomica/202135/