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Meet Mario Laufer of Carrot Express in Miami Beach, Aventura, Coral Gables and Midtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mario Laufer.

Mario, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Carrot Express has been a long term dream of mine. After many failed businesses in different industries, I decided to venture into what I was truly passionate about. That is; cooking. Funny enough when I began Carrot Express I had very little money to open a restaurant so I ended up renting out a small space inside a gas station right off Alton Rd a cousin of mine owned. Very soon after I realized there was an appetite for the kind of food we were making and deiced to lease a great space on Alton Rd and moved the restaurant there. A few years later a friend asked me if I would join him to open a Carrot Express in Midtown. Immediately I said yes. I knew that our food, atmosphere and friendly approach to healthy eating was taking traction. That venture proved to be very successful. At that time I decided that with all the experience I have had; it was time to venture into the franchise business.

I knew there was an appetite for healthy, quality food. Our first franchisee was on North Beach at 7145 Collins Av. Very soon after we open a second franchise in Miami Gardens Drv (Aventura). In 2019 the 3rd Franchisee opened in Miracle Mile (Coral Gables). Altogether there are five Carrot Express restaurants in South Florida and opening five more in the next 6 to 12 months. For 2019 we are set to open Carrot Express Downtown (DuPont building). For 2020 we are planning to open Carrot Express – Las Olas, Pinecrest and Doral. Carrot Express is also starting the collaboration with WeWork – Coral Gables to premiere it’s first Carrot Express Outpost. We are overly excited about this new era for Carrot Express and we are looking to become a healthy hub for everyone who wants to experience healthy and delicious food.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Wow, has it been a bumpy ride to get here and to make my dream a reality. But looking back every challenge taught me something and it helped to shape what Carrot Express is today. Even though Carrot Express was not founded in 1993; it was that year when I decided to shift what I was doing and become a restaurateur.

Before venturing into the food industry I had my own woman’s clothing manufacturing company for over 10 years. It was a very difficult and competitive industry and I was running out of opportunities. Eminently, I was forced to close the doors and at that time I told my mother; who used to work with me that I will close and pursue my dream of owning a restaurant. My mother’s first response was: are you crazy? I told her: “I have no idea how to do it but I love to cook and to prepare food” and that’s how everything started.

Please tell us about your business.
I am most proud of the food and the environment we have at our restaurants. You see, for me eating healthy was more of a necessity than anything else. At some point in time, I understood that if I wanted to live a better life I need to watch what I eat. I needed to start eating smart and that’s how my passion for healthy food started. I couldn’t find any place that would serve healthy and tasty food so I began to prepare the food my mother use to make us which was healthy and delicious.

At Carrot Express I’m in charge of many aspects of the business but the most important one is developing the menu and making sure each location is preparing the food the way it needs to be prepared.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
So many to tell! I will have to get back to you on this one.

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