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The Future of Hispanic Entrepreneurship in SA
Denise Rodriguez-Hernandez is the owner and partner of The Fruteria y Botanero and The Eatery Culinary Group LLC. She also works as the VP of Development for True Flavors Catering. With over 25 years of experience in the food industry, Denise has worked with a wide range of companies marketing private-label brands, developing and implementing strategic business plans, manufacturing, and leading substantial revenue and profit growth.
Denise’s love for business in the food industry was instilled in her by her parents Jesus and Patricia Rodriguez when she was only 10 years old while working in her parents Molino, a Mexican corn milling manufacturing plant in the Westside of San Antonio. By 1993, her family’s business expanded opening a catering company, and a larger food manufacturing plant that supplied tamales to local stores and businesses, eventually supplying tamales all over the world including the White House during Bill Clinton’s presidency.
By this time, Denise was handling all aspects of operations including payroll for over 200 employees, Human Resources, and working weekends managing day-to-day operations at the family restaurant. While growing her family’s business they were featured as San Antonio top manufacturing plant in San Antonio by the San Antonio Express News.
Her experience in the family business led her to Daymon Worldwide where she joined as the youngest regional manager for South Texas handling marketing and promotions for national brands throughout the state; with over 350 employees on her team. Within 2 years Denise transferred to the brokerage side of the company and worked solely on developing private label brands for H-E-B grocery stores throughout Texas.
Denise joined her husband’s family business, True Flavors Catering, in 2008. She started overseeing accounting, customer service, sales, and marketing. Her role evolved to VP of Development managing True Flavors growth through staff training, organizational development, benefits administration, leadership development, and conflict resolution. Denise believes the key to success for the business has been “the empowerment of great people to take risks, lead change, and make a difference.” During this time True Flavors was awarded “best catering company in San Antonio”.
In 2012, Denise joined her brother-in-law Chef Johnny Hernandez as a partner of The Fruteria - Botanero by Chef Johnny Hernandez. Her role was key in supporting Johnny’s vision to bring the concept to life, and carry out all the operational needs for the restaurant including hiring, training, staff development, HR duties, and marketing outreach.
In 2013 Denise was instrumental in the partnership between Chef Johnny Hernandez and HMS HOST International to expand the Chef’s brands as airport concessions. She helped successfully carry out all the contractual agreements, and together they now operate 7 units within the San Antonio & Houston airport to include La Gloria Street foods, The Fruteria, Mission City Ice House, Steak and Shake, Auntie Anne's Pretzels, and La Tapenade.
Denise is committed to helping her community and to do so she serves on the Board of Directors for the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and will be board chair for 2022. In 2014 she was a founding member of the very first Latin Leadership Institute program and was co-chair for the 2017 Leadership Committee. She served as a board member for the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, was appointed by Mayor Ivy Taylor to the city’s CVB task force and currently serves on the newly formed Visit San Antonio Board. She is a graduate of LSA 40, was a part of the Steering Committee for LSA 41, and will Co-Chair LSA 43. She is the recipient of the Hispanic Chambers 2017 Inspiration Award and the 2017 HOPE Leadership Award.
Denise earned her BBA in Business Administration with a concentration in International Business from The University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. She currently resides in San Antonio with her husband Mark and her 4 children, Madeleine, Isabella, Andrew, Joshua Luke.