Feb. 14, 2023

08: How to Make It in a Seasonal Economy | Jaime Sparrow, Sunbird

08: How to Make It in a Seasonal Economy | Jaime Sparrow, Sunbird

Jaime Sparrow is the owner of Sunbird Cape Cod, a zero-waste cafe specializing in fresh, local, and sustainable food. In this interview Jaime shares her journey from working in San Francisco restaurants to moving back home to open a food truck, and eventually a cafe, in a seasonal economy heavily driven by tourism. We discuss how Jaime and her husband tested their concept with a food truck, why popularity with Cape Cod locals gave them confidence to open their first restaurant, their early struggles due to not raising enough money prior to opening, and how Jaime manages to run a zero-waste kitchen. Jaime drops pearls of real talk wisdom in this one, making it a must-listen for anyone thinking about opening their first restaurant! 


Where to find Sunbird:

Where to find Jaime:

Where to find Bryan:

Where to find Kitava:


In this episode, we cover:
  • (01:18) Jaime’s background and early career in restaurants
  • (05:03) Her role at SPQR in San Francisco
  • (06:18) What Jaime learned from opening other restaurants early in her career
  • (07:36) Where the idea for Sunbird came from
  • (13:28) Buying a food truck as a first step to creating Sunbird
  • (18:08) How support from Cape Cod locals gave Jamie the confidence to expand to a brick-and-mortar location
  • (20:18) Making personal ends meet with a seasonal restaurant business in a tourist town
  • (22:16) The perils of under-financing her first restaurant
  • (24:15) Surviving the first year after having their opening delayed 9 months
  • (27:18) How they viewed paying themselves in the early years
  • (29:42) An attempt to increase sales that backfired
  • (32:48) How Sunbird runs a zero-waste kitchen
  • (35:48) The evolution in Jaime’s role since opening
  • (38:14) Sunbird’s future plans to create a lifestyle brand beyond food
  • (39:58) The first thing Jaime does each day
  • (40:40) Book / resource recommendation for restaurant owners
  • (41:25) Favorite interview question
  • (41:55) One of her favorite vendors
  • (43:03) Unique staff tradition
  • (44:03) Common misconception about restaurants
  • (45:08) What Jaime does to unwind