Martin Gomez: From Tomato Picker to Sweet Tomatoes General Manager
What’s meant to be will always find a way. Martin Gomez, a seasoned restaurateur, with more than 25 years in the restaurant business, knows what it is like to start from scratch and build your way up. One of his first jobs was in California’s Central Valley where during the day he picked tomatoes and at night he worked in a restaurant, at first as a dishwasher.
While he worked for other restaurants, he would eat at Sweet Tomatoes. “For the past two decades my dad and I have had dinner at least once a week at the Sunnyvale Sweet Tomatoes,” Martin says. “People always thought it was odd for me to not eat where I worked, but I didn’t. What I saw over and over at Sweet Tomatoes is the managers and crew had smiles on their faces, were engaging with their guests and the quality of the food was always consistent,” he said.
“Over nearly 20 years, I built relationships with folks at the Sunnyvale Sweet Tomatoes and learned a great deal about the operation, the culture, and values and I wanted to be a part of that,” he said. The opportunity for Martin to join Sweet Tomatoes came 13 months ago.
Elsa Venegas, Director of Operations for the Mountain View store, was looking for a general manager. The people and the food! That, says Martin, is what attracted him to the general manager position, a job he describes as “my dream come true.” He met with Elsa and it did not take long to see what Martin could bring to Sweet Tomatoes. “His enthusiasm for our brand and his depth of knowledge for what we do made me think he had worked for us for years. He was just a natural. We hired him and he has already done some great things in Mountain View,” says Elsa.
With just over a year under his belt he says, “I want to not only share the importance of consistent quality food, but for the values we share as a team. When we work hard in values-driven culture like we have at Sweet Tomatoes, we can all grow and add value. That is why I say I’m living my dream.”