Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Valentina Crobu, Owner of Robba da Matti, located in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

My husband and I own 4 restaurants and 1 wine/lounge bar. We have a variety of ages who enjoy our establishments; I would say everybody between 20 and 70 years old.

Tell us about yourself

My husband and I traveled around Europe for 8 years, and we always worked in restaurants when we needed to; my mom used to own a restaurant in Rome, so I grew up in that environment, and I always liked it. I started to work for her at the age of 16. My husband always wanted to have his own business; one day, we found a commercial place for lease in Yaletown, it was very small, but we loved the area. At the time, I was already working as Interior Designer, and I was able to make a floor plan in a very short time; we came to the conclusion that it was possible to turn it into a small restaurant and probably better for us to start small, so we went for it, we did the renovation and added the patio, our first location has now been open for 12 years. We love good food; in Italy, the best times with friends and family are made at the dining table, we just wanted people to have authentic Italian food (we never change the real recipes) along with good wines and a good time! We want them to feel like they are in Italy; this is what motivates us to keep doing what we are doing.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Hard to pick one; I would say it feels very good when on the street, people see our car and says, "I love your food! I'm a big fan!" That always put a big smile on our faces...being able to keep our place during COVID as well is one of the biggest accomplishment we had; it was the hardest time of all for sure.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Two things:

  1. We really don't get rest.
  2. Trying to do the right things at all times...especially when you have between 80 to 100 staff members, it could get tricky.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Make a solid business plan; the costs involved are always more than expected.
  2. Self-discipline, don't procrastinate just because you can, because actually, you can't!
  3. Surround yourself with people that know more than you do; as my husband says, " I want to be the dumbest person in the room!"

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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