Who is Alejandra Gonzalez?
Alejandra Gonzalez is a food blogger and the founder of the missfoodiebayarea social media pages. She has recently cofounded Con Azucar Café, a gourmet coffee shop. Missfoodiebayarea has more than 41,000 Instagram followers and over 73,000 TikTok fans. Alejandra lives in San Jose, CA.
Alejandra Gonzalez is the co-founder of the recently opened Con Azucar Café, a gourmet coffee shop in downtown San Jose, CA. However most people will know her as the person behind the missfoodiebayarea’s Instagram and TikTok pages that she has run for the last five years.
Her journey to becoming a food blogger was inspired by a trip to Los Angeles, CA.
“I started posting on my personal page a whole bunch of restaurants I was going to. People were like, ‘Oh my God! Keep that on your page. I wanna go there sometime’. Then I started posting actual food pictures on my personal page before later opening a food page. And my close friends and family started following me there. I started using hashtags.”
Hashtags proved pivotal in expanding her visibility.
“One time, this foodie that had 7,000 followers commented, ‘Wow! That looks great!’. It motivated me to keep posting. Then there was BeerRunBobby, a podcast talk host who had over 100,000 followers. He reached out to me and was like, ‘I like what you’re doing. Can I give you a shout out?’ And I was like, ‘Yes!’. I only had 800 followers at that time. And it gave me over a thousand followers in one night. I met some other foodies and they gave me advice. People started reaching out to me like, ‘Come try out our restaurant’.”
She stopped updating her page and only resumed when COVID-19 struck. It was during this time that her page grew the most.
“I started doing it again because there was really nothing else to do. I was at home. So I just wanted to be on social media, exploring stuff. I didn’t realize how many people were looking for places that were open or offering food because a lot of places were closing down.
And so I got the opportunity to work with a lot of vendors. I would just show up, promote their food and they would get a lot of support from my followers. It made a huge difference. I feel like I helped out a lot of small businesses during that time. And they’ve come back and told me.”
Her followers and target audience are mainly Latinos.
“I love my culture. I love any kind of food but I guess that’s what I post the most about.”
Collab Approach and Main Terms
Whereas she used to reach out to restaurants in the past, it is restaurants that mostly reach out to her instead now.
“I send them the details of the collab which basically goes, ‘Hey, just because you’re offering me this, it doesn’t mean I’m just going to post it on my page’. So most of the time, I just do it on my own and give a raw opinion. If it’s something I don’t like, I won’t post negatively about it. I won’t try to put down a business on my page. If for whatever reason, I don’t agree with your food or your product, I will not post on my page and it will not be missfoodiebayarea-approved.”
Alejandra does sometimes go unprompted to restaurants she’s interested in.
“I usually always have collab details before I go to a restaurant. So if I do a collab, I let them know it has to be missfoodiebayarea-approved. Meaning it is what I feel is okay to promote to my followers. Because at the end of the day, I do care a lot for my followers because that’s what makes me, me.”
The most important condition of her collabs with restaurants is that they must serve her the same food and in the same way as they would serve her followers.
“I don’t want that special treatment where it’s like, this is for missfoodiebayarea and then my followers go and order the same thing and it’s a completely different thing. This has happened in the past with some restaurants.”
To gauge campaign success, Alejandra looks at two main metrics.
“I have this hashtag #missfoodiemademedoit. A lot of people tag me on their stories and they use that hashtag. That’s when I know the restaurant is doing really well. Also, I usually take pictures of their Instagram following before the collab. And then I take pictures after I start posting and even 24 hours later to see how much engagement they received, comments on their pictures and how many followers they’ve got.”
One of her most memorable collabs saw a business gain more than a thousand followers in less than 48 hours.
“I can’t even remember the name of the vendor, but I just know that my engagement is really good because I know my followers trust my word. They know that I’m honest in my reviews. Because sometimes a lot of places are just being promoted by big time influencers because they’re getting paid.
For me, the money doesn’t matter at all. I do it for fun because I like to eat. And I feel bad if it’s not missfoodiebayarea-approved because I want to improve everyone. But if it’s not it, it’s not it.”
Key Challenges as an Influencer
Alejandra finds she spends less time now on collabs and more time on Con Azucar Café as well as her job at Tesla.
“I work at Tesla from 10PM to 6AM. Monday to Friday. So I sleep during the day and when I wake up, I go to Con Azucar Café to check in before going out to eat and squeezing a collab if I can. Then I take a nap and go to work.”
It’s subsequently become harder for her to post consistently on missfoodiebayarea.
“It’s hard to keep up with the content, messages, engagement and posting every day. That’s the biggest challenge because the expectation of a new influencer nowadays is that you post every day. Maybe even twice a day. I think my last post was two weeks ago. My life has recently been more involved with Con Azucar Café.”
Con Azucar Café
The idea to open a coffee shop in San Jose was inspired by her regular travels to Mexico.
“I’ve always loved coffee. And so I would go into a lot of coffee shops in Mexico. I wanted something like that here. And so I partnered up with the owners of Tostadas Restaurant in downtown and midtown San Jose. We talked about setting up a different type of coffee shop, something that you can’t find here. We started sending names and Con Azucar Café just stuck.”
The café’s interior design is inspired by Mexican culture.
“If you go anywhere in Mexico, they have swings. You always have a swing, whether you’re in the poorest household or the richest household. And so our main Instagram thing here is a swing that we have. And that kind of brings it back to their childhood in having that swing there. Another thing is having the Mexico-inspired greenery. It’s just different.”
Alejandra has so far promoted Con Azucar Café on her own and not seen the need to contract other influencers.
“It was just with my page. We did TikToks and it helped. People started sharing and supporting us in that way. We are already at almost 15,000 followers which is crazy because we just opened four weeks ago. I’ve had some influencers reach out. Some TikTok people with over a million followers. Basically, they have come, tried our product and promoted it on their page.
If it will help us, why not? But not us reaching out to influencers. No. I just don’t feel like there’s a huge need for us to reach out to people. I feel like the support is here already. The community has been supportive. It’s amazing. At our grand opening, we had a line around the building.”
Tips for Foodies Visiting San Jose
Besides Con Azucar Café, Alejandra has two suggestions on restaurants you should consider going to when visiting San Jose.
First, Tostadas Restaurant.
“Not just because they’re my partners but I also feel like the concept is very different. It’s like a Mexican fusion. Basically something that you won’t find here. Their menu was definitely very different.”
Second, Mariscos Costa Alegre.
She hopes to collab with viral restaurateur Salt Bae someday.
“He has his own steak house in LA and does a little salt on the show and everything. I guess that would be a dream collab. I’m actually making a trip out there in July just because I want to try it. That would probably be the only one just because that’s pretty cool.”
Alejandra plans to open more Con Azucar Cafés.
“Hopefully a couple more if this consistency continues. A Con Azucar Café in each corner downtown and throughout the Bay Area.”