Paladares: Self-Employment With a Cuban Twist

A restaurant opened in a private home in Cuba — a paladar — is one way in which Cubans are exploring self-employment and facing challenges with an entrepreneurial spirit.

A paladar’s owner pays the government for a permit to work, as do the staff members, who are employed by the government — not the owner. The government regulates the number of tables allowed on site and sets licensing fees according to how much business the paladar generates.

Without a wholesale sector and given intense fines on black market goods, paladar owners face the difficult task of maintaining consistent quality and quantity of menu ingredients. In Cuba, farmers may own their land, but the government owns all goods produced on farms, and most food suppliers and distributers are owned by government agencies. Some paladares employ creative solutions to maintain sufficient supplies, like catching fish or counting on farming cooperatives, which are free to sell goods once the government has what it needs.

Read more about the resourcefulness of Cuban entrepreneurs in Gerry Yemen and Professor Gregory B. Fairchild’s article “Case in Point: Entrepreneurial Cubans Are Opening Restaurants in Private Homes,” in the Darden School of Business/Washington Post “Case in Point” series.

About the Faculty

Gregory B. Fairchild

Fairchild is an expert in business strategy, business ethics, leadership and entrepreneurship. He specializes in underserved, overlooked markets and has taught financial literacy to victims of domestic violence, and has launched a program to teach entrepreneurship and business skills to inmates re-entering society.

Fairchild was named one of the 10 Best Business School Professors in the... Learn More