Cochran Fellowship Program Teaches Uruguayan Restaurateur How to Expand, Help Economy

Inside the grille area of Cochran Fellowship Program alumnus Marcelo Roel’s La Perdiz restaurant in Montevideo, Uruguay. 

Uruguayan restaurateur Marcelo Roel credits USDA’s Cochran Fellowship Program (CFP) with helping him expand his business by introducing him to modern restaurant techniques and high quality food and beverages.

The Cochran Fellowship Program provides short-term training opportunities to agricultural professionals from middle income countries, emerging markets and emerging democracies.  They receive hands-on training to enhance their technical knowledge and skills in areas related to agricultural trade, agribusiness development, management, policy and marketing.

Roel participated in a restaurant management program, conducted by Purdue University. The program taught him how to design and lay out a new commercial kitchen, perfect the quality of his product, strategize and streamline his purchases, and manage his inventory and finances. 

Those and other lessons helped him to triple the size of his original restaurant, La Perdiz, add an American-style sports bar, purchase $700,000 worth of U.S. food and beverages and integrate a 250-seat restaurant into his business portfolio.  The new restaurant alone will require that he hire 130 people, more than 10 times the 12 people he employed in his original restaurant.

He and his team will continue using U.S. beer, sauces, sweet bread, juices, beans, meat, sausages, and other U.S. food and beverage imports to prepare the flavorful fare that has made his restaurant among the most popular in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay.  In addition, he recently contracted with a major U.S. whiskey maker to advertise its brand in his sports bar.

Roel has been able to apply what he learned from the program to mutually benefit the Uruguayan and U.S. economies by providing better quality food and beverages for consumers, creating more jobs for Uruguayan citizens and buying more quality U.S. food and beverages.