Daniel Gomez

One might say that Daniel Gomez CIA ‘02, SHA ‘07 has a lot of imagination. After all, to develop a restaurant concept with eight differently themed rooms within a single envelope takes more than the standard creativity. On the other hand, one might say that he is simply a savvy businessman whose many years of experience in restaurant operations and concept development have positioned him for success. He admits that his first solo venture, Daniel D&W, is ambitious, even more so because as his namesake, the restaurant carries a high level of personal pride. Daniel took over a historic landmark in the heart of Bogota’s financial district and Daniel D&W presents an escape for busy executives as well as destination dining for weekenders and after hours parties. Each of the eight dining rooms has its own colonial British theme, from the regally sumptuous Queen’s Room to the leather seated informality of the Churchill inspired library to the airy English garden. Guests can even enjoy a drink in the naval room, at a bar constructed from the hull of an actual boat . The ambience in each space is fully fleshed out with décor, background music, and an international cuisine.
While sure of his entrepreneurial spirit and passion for the foodservice industry, Daniel did some intense introspection to figure out how to reach his goals. He began with an immersion in the culinary arts, learning traditional methods as a cook in Italy and Spain, before taking on pastry positions and service in the US. He formalized his training by completing his CIA studies, both an AOS in Culinary Arts in 2002 and a certificate in Baking & Pastry arts in 2003. At that point, he had observed numerous business models and management styles and decided “ I needed to become more well-rounded in my business skills” and the School of Hotel Administration clearly had the best hospitality business program. Although a talented “foodie”, Daniel focused his energies on what he perceived as his weaker skills. Advanced courses in business modeling and database management led him to internships at both Avero Software and Starr Restaurant Organization, learning to apply business measurement models, food inventory analysis, beverage cost control and compliance, and revenue management assessments.
Along the way he developed relationships that led to capstone positions in his hands-on education. As a restaurant manager with China Grill, responsible for over 100 employees, Daniel learned quickly how to recruit, interview and select solid employees. At David Burke Las Vegas he was handed a 350 item wine list to manage and he quickly threw himself into the endeavor, achieving Sommelier certification and developing a program for staff training, selection and pairing of the wines. He returned to Avero Software as a Food & Beverage Analyst, creating and tracking ROI programs for clients, then was asked by a former colleague to manage the opening of the Eden South Beach restaurant in Miami Beach, where he experienced the construction process, negotiated purveyor contracts, set up software, modeled budget projections and selected and trained staff. Feeling he had achieved his goal of experiencing every facet of the industry, he returned to Bogota.
On the number and variety of his international experiences, Daniel notes “I have had unique opportunities and I see their influence reflected in what we do here at Daniel D&W.” His menu is derived from a wealth of culinary experience; the wine list a product of his Sommelier training, well-structured and closely paired with the menu. In hiring staff, Daniel called on his recruitment skills; his team is like a family (and many are in fact related) and they support each other to make the restaurant run smoothly. In selecting a POS system, Daniel’s work at Avero taught him to ask the right questions and they had a quick, flawless implementation, almost unheard of in typical restaurants that spend weeks “working out the kinks”. Even Daniel D&W’s service structure is different from most in Bogota; they pay tips nightly rather than having them collected by a cashier and distributed in a paycheck.
As Daniel D&W continues to build a steady following, Daniel noted his newest challenge is social media and public relations. Since much of the business is based around destination dining, he is looking for the right events manager and marketing person to take his brand to the next level. In the meantime, he invites guests “to let my home away from home be your home away from home.”

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