Solo de croquetas: From a physical restaurant to a gourmet niche eCommerce, with Eduardo Gambero


On dates where all the fame is taken by the nougat, the desserts, the seafood, we go to really rich food. We found the website and we thought it was such a fantasy that we had to interview its CEO, Eduardo Gambero. A niche website, which only distributes croquettes online. Presumably low ticket, difficult recurrence.

As a spoiler: it has the backing of a physical business, in Madrid only croquettes. Product 100% suitable for celiacs and with a lot of innovation in flavors: Asturian cachopo croquettes, seafood paella, mojo picón, toasted yolk nougat… and up to 30 flavors beyond “ham croquettes”.

⭐Program sponsored by M4C Academy

Interview Eduardo Gambero (Croquetas only)

9:36 Tell us what is Sólo de Croquetas, when was it born? Why sell only croquettes?

The idea of Solo de Croqueta arose by chance in 2018. We saw a small store, very well located in the center of Madrid and with a good price, but it did not fit our business model. So we thought about creating a new one.

Because of the location we wanted it to be something typical Spanish, to get foreign public, and for the simple kitchen that was single product. I did a study on the internet about what words could be positioned, what there wasn’t a lot of competition and nobody was working on them well and that’s when the croquettes appeared. All bars have croquettes, but no one has a powerful croquette brand that was working well on SEO positioning and seeking to create a large community. While Javi was in charge of creating and developing the croquettes, I dedicated myself to conditioning the premises and the website. We did many tests, the first croquettes were very bad, but we had a very enriching process and thanks to which we managed to position ourselves in the niche.

Something very important is that, thanks to the bar, we were aware of the problem of celiacs. So we already had in mind creating a line of croquettes suitable for coeliacs. The funny thing was that when we did blind tastings for people to rate the flavor and texture, the ones they liked the most were always the ones that were gluten-free, so we decided to make them all gluten-free. This also freed us from cross contamination and duplication of stock. It’s a bit more expensive, but we decided to position ourselves with a premium product, so we were able to bear the cost. Then we started making vegan and lactose-free croquettes.

Our idea from The beginning was to create an eCommerce for croquettes, because we saw a clear business opportunity, but to position ourselves we had to come from a restaurant, because super or retail croquettes are associated with low quality.

Normally, croquettes are a starter dish, so we focus on offering a croquette gastronomic experience that we call “Crocatas”. This is a tasting menu, where people try 8 croquettes, 6 salty and 2 sweet. We even have different portions, from the basic one, which goes with a drink, to the most premium ones with wine pairing, testing different wines with the different flavors of the croquettes.

20:15 Tell me more about your online business and how you manage to ship to the entire Peninsula.

Our first objective was to create a large community, so we started to rock social networks with a very fun approach, we already have many followers on Instagram and this year we have started with TikTok. Then, our next step was to create the website and eCommerce, but the pandemic forced us to speed up the process and we had to advance the creation of the website, which I ended up doing without being a programmer, thanks to tutorials and plugins.

Likewise, the pandemic accelerated logistics. Seur Frío emerged, which allows you to send food throughout Spain at controlled temperatures and with what we have managed to distribute to all our clients. The croquettes are shipped ready to be fried.

The photos we have on Instagram, Customers take them and pass them on to us. We did a study and we noticed that people uploaded a lot of things about croquettes, the croquettes hashtag was highly exploited on social networks, but there was no one to channel it.

25:38 Do you sell everything on your website? Or do you depend a lot on food delivery apps like Glovo or Justeat?

Justeat and Glovo only work in radios close to restaurants. The good thing about the croquettes is that you can send it to all of Spain, that the customer passes it through a normal or air fryer and this allowed us to make an eCommerce to all of Spain, without having to open many physical points.

We realized that many customers use our croquettes as gifts, so we introduced the option to send a personalized note on orders, so we can also measure how many of our orders are for gifts. Between 60 and 70% of orders are with personalized cards and the day we sell the most in eCommerce is Valentine’s Day.

We have implemented the monthly subscription of croquettes, so that every month you get a box of croquettes. We still don’t have statistics, but we see that it is having quite a reception, especially for testing flavors. Our business model is focused on the variety of flavors, so in addition to having more than 30 types of flavors, we release a new flavor every week.

Every Monday we send a newsletter explaining the new flavor and advising that we renew the stock. If you want to choose between the 30 flavors, it is best to go in on Monday, in fact the weekly croquette runs out immediately and there is a counter on the web that allows you to see the units that are left.

The subscription allows you to have more variety of flavors, the novelties, the flavors that we tried and also people can give us feedback, about what interests them.

32:51 Now my fetish questions: key data (that you can share with us) so that our listeners can size up the brand:

Team you have

The team is made up of some 20 people between restaurant staff and online stores.

The average ticket online is around €29. Gift orders are a bit smaller.

In our case, the conversion rate is not very reliable, because people do not enter our website only to buy, but also to reserve a table. Even so we are in a lathe 1% conversion.

I can tell you that we are profitable and now one of our objectives to grow faster is to make rounds. We have been selected by Startupxplore and will be out soon. The objective of the round will be to promote eCommerce and grow faster. We have seen that the model works, but we need more equipment to support this growth a bit. The idea of ​​the investment is only to create a team and budget for marketing, the same thing we are doing now to multiply it by 10. Our short-term challenge is for online to surpass restaurants. Right now we are 80% restaurant and 20% online.

with the round we want to raise 250,000 euros and we have also requested an initial of another 250,000 euros.

38:50 Have you achieved the SEO challenge? If they are looking for croquettes, do you appear?

Yes. By putting croquettes at home, we appear. We already have a little competition, but some of our traffic is not from SEO. We appear first, but it is a bit limited because people still do not know that you can buy croquettes online. What we are doing now is educating the public that they can give away croquettes and for that, social networks are more useful.

Until now there was no online gift of croquettes and no one imagined that you could send a box of croquettes to any point in Spain with a click and that it would arrive in 24 hours. The need has always been there, because the market is huge, we are talking about 7,000 million croquettes consumed per year in Spain.

40:53 What are the shipping costs?

The costs are around 4 euros. We have done some tests to place the price of the shipment before the check out, but we have realized that our public does not go for the price.

We have positioned ourselves as a gourmet croquette and We are the only brand that focuses solely on the end customer, which allows us to give much more quality to the croquette than the rest of the brands that sell. Other brands are aimed at inns and retailers and do not have as much profit margin, on the other hand, we have decided to ultimately sell directly to the customer and have the freedom to put as much salmon as we want on a salmon croquette, without the need to use salmon enhancers. taste.

Also, doing a price exploration, a pizza that costs you 22 euros is for two people, why would a flirtatious dinner cost less?

43:51 You have more than 30 flavors, what are the rarest flavors you have released?

we always say that everything can be croquette. We have a gastronomic representation of each autonomous community, we take the typical dishes of each community and turn them into croquettes.

We have cachopo croquettes from Asturias, Galician broth from Galicia, mojo picón from the Canary Islands, sobrasada with mahón cheese from the Balearic Islands. We also have many sweet croquettes such as Catalan cream from Catalonia and others that are out of place such as Oreo with white chocolate and cheesecake.

43:52 At the marketing level, do you work with your own social networks, influencer?

We work with influencers, but only with product exchange, but we have never paid influencers and usually they themselves contact us. We exchange product for content and they help us create content, photos, stories, but we find it more attractive that the clients themselves upload it.

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