Small Business

Taking a restaurant on the road – How this small, family run business adjusted during the pandemic

November 15, 2023

Husband and wife Joel and Mayumi Francois took a risk during the pandemic, packing up shop with their restaurant and hitting the road to take their food directly to customers.

As a small business born out of the pandemic, La Popote Mobile faced a multitude of challenges.

Joel and Mayumi
Francois owned a restaurant, but decided to sell it between the two COVID-19 lockdowns, given the restrictions facing the hospitality industry. 

Armed with years of restaurant experience and a love of food, the couple cooked up a new business, La Popote Mobile, to stay agile against the turbulence of the global crisis and take their French-Japanese fusion cuisine straight to the mouths of customers.    

“Our greatest success to date has been earning the trust of our customers and building our reputation in a short period of time. This can be a challenge when you’re based in a small French village such as Treignac, but we’ve made it work. You can never underestimate the power of word of mouth, especially in hospitality.”
— Joel Francois

In a small community such as this one, earning the trust and acceptance of the local community is only the first hurdle. Now, as the couple looks to take the next step with their business, they are seeking support and guidance to get them there.  

“The most valuable support we could receive is how we communicate our story, offerings, and plans for the future. We currently have a Facebook page but no website, and we’re looking to find the right tools and support to enhance our online presence. We’d love to have greater visibility across social media, as we want to explore new audiences and share our story with potential customers.”

The couple also have big plans for the future, with dreams of expanding their services to offer French and Japanese cooking lessons.  

Helping Europe’s SMEs thrive in the digital economy 

Small and micro businesses are the backbone of the European economy, and supporting their growth and development is crucial. 

According to a study conducted by Mastercard earlier this year, family-run firms are seeking more education, training and mentorship to help their businesses grow. Only 37% of family-run small businesses feel very prepared to operate in a digital economy. 

Mastercard is committed to addressing the key barriers that small business face and by leveraging our infrastructure, partnerships, and technology, and can help small family businesses keep pace and better integrate into a digital-first world.