Saffrano is one of those family-owned restaurants that give you an incredible experience from the moment you walk on their door. If you live in the Coconut Creek area, you need to drop by for incredible food, and a great customer experience.
Saffrano’s owner Taylor Clemmer shares the adventure of opening this little piece of heaven amidst dreams and pandemics.
What can you tell us about yourself?
I am from Mississippi. I got my Master’s in Accounting and eventually became a CPA. I worked in public accounting as a Senior Tax Manager doing sophisticated income tax preparation. I am very passionate about teaching tennis. My wife is a professional chef. She is from Bogota, Columbia, which is where she went to culinary school. She got her love for cooking from her father.
What were the origins of your business?
It was Angie’s dream to own a restaurant. Most professional chefs share the same dream. My career in public accounting was ending, and I always wanted to be a business owner. One day, the idea came to me when we were driving in the car…‘ what if we sell all of my assets and we move to south Florida and buy a restaurant together?’ It was just an idea, but one thing led to another. We were able to sell my house in Mississippi, and we found the current location of Saffrano was available for sale. My wife created the entire concept, including ‘eat the world on crepes’ and ‘every city has its own flavor.’ My brother in law helped us creating the ‘brand.’
What aspects of your background have helped you the most?
Being a CPA helps tremendously in the office work necessary for any business, including posting books, payroll, paying bills, legal compliance, tax prep, etc. Angie, of course, being a professional chef, was able to use her background to create the menu and flavors, set up her commercial kitchen, and now has created a team in the kitchen with a sous chef and a kitchen assistant.
What were the main challenges you encountered at the beginning?
The main challenge at the beginning was, of course, getting exposure. When you open a new business in a new city, it can be a very scary thing, especially when you have day after day with just a hand full of customers. And then Coronavirus happened the third week of March. So, the little in sales we were doing dropped dramatically, and we were forced to close the dining area. We were able to do takeout and delivery. However, with such a small following going into Covid, we lost a lot of money each week and had to take on debt to survive.
Who was the most supportive of your idea?
The most supportive was my mother-in-law, Sonia. She is an author and speaker, and companies hire her to develop better communication within the company, departments, and leadership. She loves and encourages entrepreneurs. So naturally, she encouraged Angie and me to pursue this dream.
Have there been any changes in your business approach after Covid-19?
I would not say we have a different approach. However, Covid simply made life and running a restaurant infinitely more difficult than it already is. The major way we survived was doing as much of the work as possible ourselves, thereby reducing our payroll expense. We have worked 90 – 100 hours per week since opening. And due to Covid, we have not been able to cut back any of those hours.
What makes your offer unique?
Everything is made fresh at Saffrano. We make all of our sauces, salad dressings, soups, mango chutney, etc. NOTHING is frozen, except shrimp. We pride ourselves on cooking everything fresh with the best ingredients possible. When you cook this way, you obtain a flavor that you cannot get any other way, especially if food is pre-prepared and reheated or frozen and thawed.
Do you have any other passions?
I love playing and coaching tennis. My wife and I both love to fish, particularly red snapper fishing.
If you could go back in time, what would you do differently?
I would study pharmacy instead of accounting
What challenges do you see ahead?
The most difficult challenge we face now as a company and restaurant is staffing. December was an amazing month for Saffrano, with a large increase in sales. If we continue to grow, we will begin looking outside the four walls of Saffrano and start considering other locations and possible franchising. However, to do that, we need to have fully trained staff so the restaurant can operate without the chef or me being present. Finding competent and experienced staff is very very difficult.
What future projects does your business have?
Growth, with other locations and franchising.
What message would you send to your followers?
We are excited about the new year. We have many many ideas that we will eventually implement into Saffrano. One, in particular, is new dishes. Each month, we will have one new savory crepe and one new breakfast dish. And I can attest, having tasted some of the new dishes, that they are phenomenal.
If you were to define your business in one sentence, how would you do it?
Here at Saffrano, we strive to give each customer that comes through our doors our very best, starting with the service in the front of the house and, of course, the amazing FRESH food prepared in the kitchen.
Is there anything you would like to add?
Thank you for the additional exposure!