San Mateo SBDC

“Having the SBDC help us was such a great help. Deagon really had the experience it takes to run a restaurant and she has been a great asset to our success. We’re very thankful.”

Andrew and Sequoia Vennari

BACKGROUND

Sequoia Diner is a unique restaurant owned by husband and wife Andrew Vennari and Sequoia Broderson. Located in the Laurel District of Oakland, the restaurant will serve breakfast and lunch Wednesday through Sunday. Andrew and Sequoia have a large handful of experiences in the food business. Andrew has cooked professionally for 12 years and was sous chef at Camino and Duende, while Sequoia has abundant front-house experience. Sequoia Diner will serve local, sustainable and organic ingredients, including pasture eggs and their bread, pastries, bacon, sausages, and jams are all made in-house.  The diner’s old school vibe creates a comfortable environment for anyone looking to find a friendly location to dine.  Their location is traditionally known for being a neighborhood eatery and for the last 18 years was the Full House Café.  Andrew and Sequoia’s experience, creativity and community orientation is continuing this long standing tradition in the Laurel District.

CHALLENGES

Despite working in the food industry for years, neither Andrew nor Sequoia had experience running and managing entire restaurant operations, but this didn’t stop them from pursuing their dreams of becoming restaurant owners. Andrew was referred to the SBDC while looking for restaurant specific financial projections and analysis. They were also seeking help to finalize their business model and plans.

ACTIONS

After a thoughtful understanding of the challenges they were facing, Andrew and Sequoia were referred to Alameda County’s SBDC food expert, Deagon Williams. Having immense experience and intellect in restaurants, Deagon assisted them with lease negotiations and start up strategies, and provided knowledge on acquiring financial support.  

RESULTS

Since the restaurant’s opening on May 30, 2015, Deagon has continued to provide operational support to Andrew and Sequoia.  They have obtained restaurant specific financial projections and a secured lease at their location. They currently have 8 part-time employees and 2 full-time employees. 

Apply Now

It all starts here. Complete the application and submit your request. A member of the SBDC will follow up with you and help you achieve your small business goals -- at no cost to you.
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Funded in part through cooperative agreements with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the California Governors Office for Business and Economic Development, and other private and public partners;  and nationally accredited by the association of SBDCs.