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Last Update: Sunday August 18, 2019

Key Idea: Set Your Ego Aside

Host Hattie Bryant says that  the Soutos were smart to buy a competitor and build on its brand. 

Key Question:

A: 

We say always and with a smile on our faces.  In this case we want to focus on growth.The Souto family was in the espresso roasting business in Cuba, but the biggest name in coffee in Cuba was Cafe Pilon. When the founder of Cafe Pilon was ready to retire, the Soutos offered to buy the business and created growth by combining the companies to maximize efficiencies. And they never thought of dropping the Cafe Pilon name to replace it with Souto. Bottomline, business decisions should be made separate from our egos.


The Soutos would rather increase profits than see their own name on the package. Decades later, they have acquired another competitor that carries another name. This is the Souto family business that is proud to own all the best names in Cuban coffee.

Many owners don't do this answer is as varied as there are business owners. In general, most of us who start a business see it as our child. Our child carrys our name and we are proud of that. As Enrique said, the biggest name in Cuban coffee that was known all over the island, was Cafe Pilon. So rather than being fixated on their own name, or the name of their company (Rowland Roasters), they embraced the big brand and are happy hearing the sound of the cash register ring.

Q: Why doesn't every business owner do this?

A:
The answer is as varied as there are business owners. In general, most of us who start a business see it as our child. Our child carries our name and we are proud of that. As Enrique said, the biggest name in Cuban coffee that was known all over the island, was Cafe Pilon. So rather than being fixated on their own name, or the name of their company (Rowland Roasters), they embraced the big brand and are happy hearing the sound of the cash register ring.

Q: How did the Soutos purchase Cafe Pilon?

A: The business was owned by Manuel Jesus Bascuas who had also fled Cuba. In the USA, Jose Enrique's father paid Mr. Bascuas to roast coffee before the Soutos could buy their own equipment. The families were friends. Mr. Bascuas had no family members intersted in taking over the company so he offered to sell it to the Souto family.

Q: If the two families had been fierce, unfriendly competitors, do you think the Soutos could have purchased Cafe Pilon?

A: Probably not. While Mr. Bascuas could have sold to the Soutos because he knew they have a strong company, emotion could have prevented him from making a strictly business decision. People are complicated and money is not everything especially to people who are already wealthy. Mr. Bascuas and Mr. Souto were on friendly terms which is why the deal was done.

Q: What can be learned from this?

A: All people, even your competitor, should be treated with utmost respect. The purchase of Cafe Pilon, even though it was not a big company, enabled the Souto family to take a giant step ahead in the Cuban coffee market.

Think about it

Do you leave your ego on the parking lot when you arrive at work?  Are you confident enough to be able to take your ego out of the decision-making process?

Clip from: Cafe Pilon, Rowland Coffee & the Souto family

Meet the three Souto brothers; lovers of freedom.

Miami: In this episode, we open with pictures from 1961 just before Castro forced his ways into the homes and business of this family. And though he took over everything, he could not take over their spirit. This family left behind all their worldly possessions but came to the USA with their greatest possessions -- their integrity, their love of family and friends, their creativity, their love of Cuban espresso coffee, and the knowledge needed to rebuild their family business from scratch.

Meet the Souto family, owners of Rowland Coffee Roasters in Miami.  They started with a coffee delivery business, bought Rowland, then Cafe Pilon, then Cafe Bustelo,  Medaglia D'Oro Espresso, Java Cabana and more.

Go to all the key ideas and video of this episode...

In memory of José Angel ''Pepe'' Souto, the Patriarch of the family who died at the age of 91 on November 18, 2007.

Cafe Bustelo Inc.

Rowland Coffee Roasters, Inc. Javacabana.com, BusteloCool.com

5605 NW 82nd Ave
Miami, FL 33166-4000

Visit our web site: http://cafebustelo.com

Toll Free: 800-990-9039

Business Classification:
Beverages: Coffee

Year Founded: 1962

Set Your Ego Aside

HATTIE: (The Lightbulb in the Studio) Don't reinvent the wheel. Or, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. The Souto family was in the espresso roasting business in Cuba, but the biggest name in coffee in Cuba was Cafe Pilon. When the founder of Cafe Pilon was ready to retire, the Soutos offered to buy the business and created growth by combining the companies to maximize efficiencies. And they never thought of dropping the Cafe Pilon name to replace it with Souto. What this teaches, I believe, is business decisions should be made separate from our egos. The Soutos would rather increase profits than see their own name on the package. Decades later, they have again acquired another competitor that carries another name. This is the Souto family business that is proud to own all the best names in Cuban coffee.

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