New entrepreneurs on the rise in socialist Cuba
Jeff Franks, Reuters - May 24, 2011
HAVANA (Reuters) - The salvation of socialism in Cuba is taking some odd turns, with words like "competition," "marketing" and "opportunity" being heard for the first time in decades on the communist-led island.
Under reforms by President Raul Castro, a new entrepreneurial class is developing and with it some new ways of thinking in a country that has long resisted economic change.
[And here's a juicy selection from the part of the article focusing on La Casa...]
Alejandro Robaina, owner of La Casa, one of Havana's oldest paladares, said the newly crowded market makes it necessary to offer new services and do as much marketing as possible in a country where traditional advertising is almost non-existent.
Since January, he has opened a website for his restaurant, a blog and a Facebook account to reach out to the privileged few in Cuba with Internet access and to international visitors.
He gives regular customers a discount on their meals and is offering Cuban cooking classes to foreign tourists.
On the blog, he has a photo at La Casa of him, his mother, Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page and British actor Clive Owen.
Other paladares are offering 24-hour service, home delivery and frequent-diner plans -- once you've had $1,000 worth of meals, you get a free one worth $100.
"You always have to be one step ahead so the competition doesn't catch up to you," Robaina said. "Let the competition come."
[Click on the link above to read the entire article.]