Jorge Freire - La Lola's journey - West of England

Jorge Freire – La Lola’s journey

Explore the inspiring journey of La Lola, a dynamic local business honoured with the SME Grant via the BrisBES programme. Funded by Bristol City Council, West Of England Combined Authority and Levelling Up….

Discover the journey of La Lola, a thriving local business recently awarded with the SME Grant through the BrisBES programme. Funded by West of England Combined Authority, Bristol City Council and Levelling Up, this case study unveils how La Lola utilised this support to fuel their growth and success in the vibrant Bristol community. We interviewed Jorge Freire, head chef of La Lola, about their journey and the support they received from BrisBES.

1. Can you tell us a bit about La Lola and how did it start?

La Lola was founded in November 2021 by three close friends who met in Bristol many years ago. Opening a business had always been a shared dream for us and securing a stall in St. Nicholas Market presented a perfect opportunity. Our goal was to introduce the city to authentic Spanish gastronomy. We are committed to bringing traditional Spanish cuisine, such as paella, churros, and croquettes, to Bristol.

2. Why is your business called La Lola?

La Lola is a popular Spanish name chosen to bring a taste of Spain to the UK.

3. How did you get a spot at St Nicholas Market?

We contacted someone at Bristol City Council where there were three stages of interviews. One of the interviews involved sharing our business plan and explaining the idea and how we intended to operate. During the final stage, we were offered a stall because our concept was unique on what we wanted to do. It brought something new and different to the market.

4. How did you hear about BrisBES?

Miguel, the general manager of La Lola was the one who found out about the BrisBES programme through a friend. They told him about the great support they received from expert advisors and how it helped them with their business.

5. What support did you receive from BrisBES?

The support we received from BrisBES was invaluable. Andy guided us through the process of accessing the grant and offered advice on improving our business. When you have your own business, it’s crucial to proceed step by step and avoid common mistakes such as over-hiring and setting high prices on the menu. Finding the best suppliers for our food was also essential. Essentially, Andy helped not only with the grant but also with business strategy and other plans.

6. How has receiving the SME grant impacted your business strategy and growth plans?

We will use the grant for all the improvements we couldn’t make in the past, as we were new business owners. This includes enhancing our enclosed terrace, as the market is open and can be very cold during the winter months. Our goal is to attract more customers by providing a comfortable indoor seating area. We’ve purchased a new dishwasher to streamline utensil cleaning and installed heaters to create a warm and cosy atmosphere. With some funds remaining, we plan to add tiles to areas to give the place a new look and rearrange the kitchen layout to make it better for us.

7. What is La Lola’s future?

We’re looking to expand our business, possibly opening more locations across the UK. We aim to participate in events and festivals to showcase our food. One of our dreams is to open a restaurant in Bristol or Bournemouth.

8. Would you recommend BrisBES to anyone?

Yes, I would definitely recommend it, especially for new businesses that need support from BrisBES. It prompts you to consider aspects such as training, planning and business growth.

9. What are your top tips for starting your own business?

  • Find a good location
  • Ensure you have all the necessary training from planning a menu to budgeting

Working at the market has been a joyous experience for us. It’s not just about business; it’s about being part of a vibrant and close-knit community. The atmosphere is always fun, and we’re like small family. We cherish the opportunity to exchange food and stories with our fellow food stall holders, making every day a delightful adventure. Joining this community has truly enriched our journey with La Lola.

Follow La Lola on socials for inspiring and tasty Spanish food!

Instagram: la_lola_bristol

Facebook: La Lola st.Nicholas

Funded By
Our Partners
Delivered By