Member Interview with Patricia Betancort Ramos who with her partner Jose Riverol owns Picnic cafe/bar in Puerto Del Carmen.
LBA Hola Patricia, Thanks for meeting us, we know things are particularly hectic for you right now, as well as owning Picnic you have another full time occupation?
PBR Yes that’s correct; I am a fully qualified Architect, working for a practice in Puerto Calero. We work on lots of large projects including Club La Santa and I am currently working on the new Marina in Arrecife. So there are lots of challenges, but very exciting and enjoyable. Last week for instance I was in Madrid sourcing new materials for the Marina project. On a personal level I am also involved in a project with Teguise Ayuntamiento creating a cultural centre. I also support and dedicate as much time as possible to Tri W.W.W. world winner’s way, helping people with disabilities through sport.
LBA Wow, that must keep you really busy, how to you manage to run Picnic so successfully?
PBR Well we have had Picnic for just over 3 years, so we have a great understanding of the business and its needs. My partner Jose spends a lot of time here, and we are great believers in teamwork. We motivate the staff and have lots of team meetings, getting everyone involved. We are very customer focused and strive to provide a comfortable environment for both the staff and clients.
LBA Can we ask where you were born?
PBR I was born in Lanzarote, I studied in Madrid and then worked in London and Denmark. When I was in England I coincidently was offered a position working on the first stage on the plans for the Convention Centre in Arrecife, which I was proud to be a part of.
LBA Having a successful career in Architecture what made you decide to open Picnic?
PBR At the time I was living in Copenhagen and having met Jose, I had decided that I would like to move back to Lanzarote. Jose and I wanted to create a project together based upon our experience and business knowledge. I enjoy cooking but like to eat healthily. We looked at the many places to eat along the avenida but none could offer the range of food we wanted. Whilst we acknowledge that many visitors are happy to enjoy burgers and breakfasts, a lot wanted something that was wholesome and healthy, as well as delicious. We worked with a nutritionist who helped us develop the style of food that we now offer, although we regularly update our menu and can adapt to meet individuals requirements. At the moment we are just introducing our new summer menu that includes a special priced `sandwich of the day ‘and cake of the day. We still of course have our huge range of salads, wraps, baguettes, etc as well as homemade cakes, and delicious ice-cream and cocktails made purely with fresh ingredients. We wanted Picnic to be a place of interest not just another cafe/bar which is why we love having the intercambio and book club meetings. We also have plans to re launch our movie nights. In addition we can arrange and cater for parties and events and can even provide birthday cakes etc. We have also introduced a range of cutlery and themed napkins and accessories, and for beach parties can provide special `Picnic´ baskets. We supply take away and can also offer delivery to local businesses.
LBA Whats the best thing about living in lanzarote?
PBR The Climate and of course being close to the family. Having lived in other places I find the quality of light here amazing. The natural beauty of the island, the blue skies, the sea, the volcanoes, I am totally in love with the island. I do miss city life but this is so much better.
LBA Favourtite part of the island or must see?
PBR Timanfaya, the island has many amazing things but for me Timanfaya is the best.
LBA What improvements would you like to see, changes for the better?
PBR There is a lot that can be done and in my profession I can help make it happen. The new Marina for instance will do so much for the island and will help improve tourism. We should focus on the natural beauty that we have here, we have so much to offer not just the sun and that’s what we should be promoting. It would be great if we could have the new Convention Centre that would attract a whole new audience to Lanzarote. We should also continue developing the sports facilities that we have, this could provide another type of visitor to the island. In my opinion at least 50% of the tourists that visit the island do not take the time to explore it and see the real Lanzarote, that´s what needs to change, peoples vision of the island. Cesar Manrique played a really important role in the development of Lanzarote and is appreciated by the Lanzarote people. He worked with tradition and it’s vital that we continue in that way, look at our conditions and combine them for the future and help each other connect.
LBA Patricia, you seem so busy do so much do you get time to relax?
PBR Some, my passion is cooking so that helps me with my menu planning for Picnic. I also enjoy sport, tennis, swimming and running. I like the simple things a swim at Famara, a long walk and a relaxed meal with good company. I also enjoy classical and operatic music, which is not easy to find on the island, but with the easy connections we have to other places, I can quickly travel to see a concert. That’s what I love about Lanzarote, the pace is so relaxed here but you can quickly island hop when you need to.
LBA Any advice for anyone planning to move here?
PBR We need people with energy and ideas. I think it’s great to share ideas and work together for the good of the community. Sharing can be very productive and I would be happy to talk to anyone wanting to meet and discuss ideas. That´s what I like about the LBA the support networking that exists.
LBA Patricia, many thanks for sparing us time from your busy agenda and good luck with Picnic and the Marina project.