Startup Grind recap: Pete Cimino of lloyd Taco Factory

Startup Grind, a networking and discussion forum that is open to the public, has hosted many entrepreneurs from the technology sector in past events who have shared their stories of business success.

But this month’s grind, held Oct. 25 at the incubator in the Innovation Center of the University at Buffalo’s medical campus, was proud to invite a key player in Buffalo’s flourishing food and beverage industry, Pete Cimino, co-founder of lloyd Taco Factory, for an engaging fireside chat and night of networking.

Sean Heidinger, head of the Buffalo chapter of Startup Grind, was pleased with the turnout of this month’s event, which usually draws in a crowd of 100 or more.

“It was really nice to finally feature an entrepreneur from the food and beverage industry,” Heidinger said. “It was really cool to see and learn how food and beverage industry entrepreneurs also deal with the same issues that a tech entrepreneur deals with.”

Cimino talked about his food truck and restaurateur journey before answering questions from audience members, many of whom were interested in Cimino’s experience with the city related to food truck legislation.

Kelsey Hanks, Startup Grind partner and co-committee chair, was particularly interested in this aspect of Cimino’s presentation, because she was working for the mayor’s office in 2011, shortly after lloyd’s was established.

“I was really thrilled for (Cimino and his partner) when they saw success and were able to start operating,” she said.

Cimino also discussed the future of lloyd Taco Factory, including additional brick and mortar locations and the establishment of several lloyd’s kiosks inside New Era Field, as the brand is now welcomed as the exclusive burrito of the Buffalo Bills this season. When asked when he realized his business was a success, Cimino shared an anecdote about one of his employees, who was a refugee and was finally able to purchase a car to travel to work.

Audience members, many with startup ideas and businesses of their own, learned more about the process Cimino used to launch his business, which they could apply in their own endeavors.

“We often try to drive the conversation with questions that might cross their mind if they’re thinking about starting their own business, so Pete was able to provide that perspective,” Hanks said.

Sponsors for this event were: Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc., DIG at the Innovation Center, Big Ditch Brewing Company, HELM Experience and Design, Martin Davison Public Relations, and Nickel City Graphics. 

About Startup Grind
Startup Grind is a global startup community designed to educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs, powered by Google for Entrepreneurs. Events are hosted monthly in more than 125 cities and 55 countries featuring successful local founders, innovators, educators, and investors who share personal stories and lessons learned on the road to building great companies. The monthly fireside chat interviews, startup mixers, and annual conferences provide ample opportunities to connect with amazing startups and the people behind them, tap into a strong support network, form meaningful connections, and gain inspiration for the startup journey ahead.

Read more articles by Jessica Brant.

Jessica Brant is a freelance writer and photographer working out of Buffalo, N.Y. She holds a bachelor's degree in communication from the University at Buffalo and enjoys performance dance.
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