Customer Spotlight – Max Atalla
This Customer Spotlight issue focuses on Max Atalla. Businessowner of Los Domingo’s Mexican Restaurant in Barstow and Apple Valley, leader, and community philanthropist. This Q&A illustrates a uniquely local success story of a strong-willed young person who has developed into one of the most active and influential people in the High Desert.
How did you get started in the restaurant business? Did you ever envision yourself as a business owner and leader of so many?
In 1998 I started at Los Domingo’s Pinon Hills location. I didn’t just buy the business on day one. Rather, I worked my way up steadily and earned the owners trust. The work was very humbling, with long hours, and not a lot of pay. But I learned a lot from the owners and the rest of the crew. It was a formative time in my life that continues to be the foundation for what I have and can appreciate to this day.
Truthfully, when I started there washing dishes, serving tables, and cooking food I never thought I would one day operate two locations of my own. If you told me that I’d have told you you’re crazy!
Clearly your passions exceed the walls of your businesses. Tell me about some of the other projects you been involved with?
Recently I’ve teamed up with a group of fellow community leaders and business owners in the Barstow Backpack Giveaway. With help from the entire community we successfully gave away over 700 backpacks with school supplies to kids who really needed it. The outpour of support was unreal and helped to remind me of why I love the High Desert so much. My customers, friends, and family…we all made it happen.
What has been the most fulfilling part of your work thus far?
I’d say events like the Backpack Giveaway, Car Shows raising money for the schools, being involved with several service clubs, are near the top of my list. They help build character and they remind me there are so many that still need help in our community.
Being “my own boss” I would also say is fulfilling. But I don’t really see it quite that simple. I see my customers and those whom work for me as my boss. All of them! It’s up to me to put out a consistent-quality product and help create a family friendly environment that is desirable. When I walk the floor and see people spending their hard-earned money on my food at my restaurant I am deeply affected. I have the best staff that makes it look easy when its anything but. They take care of me and allow our customers a fantastic experience.
Is there anything new happening at Los Domingo’s that you’d like us to know?
Yes! We just completed a major renovation to our Barstow location. It’s been a long time coming and we are very proud of the work that has been done. As you can see we’ve put in a lot of effort in improving our ambiance to our loyal customers. We believe our customers are the best and deserve the best! Here’s me showing them I appreciate their contribution to my success.