Madelyn Markoe is the Co-Founder of Media Noche, a fast casual counter-serve spot offering cuban sandwiches, rice bowls, snacks, and more. She is also the CEO of JPBP INC, a limited liability company. Madelyn is a San Francisco State University alumna with a bachelor’s in jazz performance and Hospitality Management. She grew up in Los Angeles where she started her career working in restaurants. Madelyn always wanted to be a chef since she was a kid. Her dream became a reality when Media Noche opened up in San Francisco in 2017.
Madelyn had a set goal to own a restaurant. She studied Latin American music at San Francisco State University and grew up with Cuban food in Los Angeles. While in college, Madelyn enrolled in a food and wine class.
“ We got to go around to different bars, taste wine and learn about food from different cultures. It was an eye-opening class that helped shape my perspective of food and where it comes from and why they exist in certain parts of the world.”
She realized that the connection of food throughout the world inspired her to continue on with the business. Madelyn went to Cuba – a place close to her heart. During her three trips to Cuba, Madelyn learned about the culture, which she especially loved the food and music. She was inspired to make her own unique spin with the food served at Media Noche. Madelyn’s dream came to life when she partnered with her friend to start her first restaurant, Media Noche in 2017.
“We’re not trying to be authentic. I have a profound amount of respect for the culture, and I love the food and the music. We are in San Francisco surrounded by awesome produce and ingredients, so we wanted to make it our own.”
In addition to Media Noche, Madelyn is the CEO of JPBP INC where she focuses on operations and strategy. Madelyn is a self-taught entrepreneur and credits a lot of her learnings from watching the show, Shark Tank.
Madelyn’s biggest challenge was sticking around and continuing on with her restaurant business, Media Noche, especially during the pandemic. She managed to stay open and fortunately received some funds from the government. However, Madelyn realized that “in life, you never really know what’s coming at you, but with a business you really have to be able to focus when that’s happening and pivot. It’s so easy to just get caught up in your emotions.”
She wants to focus on a positive outlook – both for the people that work for her, and for other aspiring restaurateurs. As far as the company goes, Madelyn is most proud of retaining and investing in the growth of her staff. About 65 or 70% of her employees have worked for her since Media Noche opened. She built individual relationships with her employees, making sure they feel supported and heard. From the start of the pandemic, she wanted to stay open seven days a week for the community and for her employees. Madelyn was proud that her restaurant never closed for one day. She is currently hiring, with the plans of opening up a food truck this summer.
When looking for a potential candidate, Madelyn looks for people that are well spoken and open to learning. She also looks for people that have a bright, positive spirit, energy, and can bring that to the table. Madelyn teaches other skill sets through a training program for all new hires.
One of Madelyn’s favorite quotes is from David Bowie:
“I don’t know where I’m going from here. But I promise it won’t be boring.”
Madelyn described how she got locked into wanting things to be one way or feeling like she failed. She does not focus on negativity, so the quote means a lot to her.
“It echoes that we never really know what’s coming at us, but we can approach it with an open mind and sense of curiosity.”
A piece of advice she would give to an entrepreneur starting out is to go into things with an open mind and know what your goals are and why.
“Understand that it might not play out how you want. It’s really important to work on cultivating a space where you can let yourself breathe or you’re not self-identifying.”