Full of Potential: Nanna Mexico
Eleanor De, about 2 years ago
Nanna Mexico is a Cambridge-based Mexican restaurant serving delicious and authentic food. Founded by Luis Navarro in 2005, he aims to put his nanna's cooking principles into practice: buy fresh, cook simple, waste nothing.
He explained to us that this ethos is not limited to the commitment to selling high quality fresh food to its loyal customer base, but also extends to a serious commitment to doing all aspects of business well. This includes recruiting an excellent workforce. When looking for a team member, Nanna Mexico looks at what the applicant can do now and what they are working towards in the future, rather than what they have done in their past. As a result, they have hired people with criminal convictions, those who are moving away from homelessness and those who have been in prison. They have achieved this by working alongside prisons, probation services and a local homelessness charity. Luis says:
“We have been fortunate enough to find excellent employees with exceptional skills and attitudes who bring a drive and vitality to our team that we all enjoy"
Another manifestation of Nanna Mexico's ethos is their Cooking Together initiative, a scheme of one-day workshops in prisons. As part of the programme, people employed in local businesses work alongside prisoners to teach them how to prepare meals for other people who live and work on their wing. At the end of the day, the newly-trained team serves the food they have made and everyone eats their meal together. Not only does this provide those in prison with exposure to trade and development of skills, but being involved in the community is an important part of Nanna Mexico and it gives extra meaning and purpose to the work of its staff. They have found that, given the opportunity, people in prison are keen to work. Luis views a successful business as one that looks beyond profit to make sure that everybody (employees, customers and the community) benefits.
“Doing exceptional work requires exceptional people, and sometimes you find them in exceptional places".