When she isn’t fielding phone calls or chatting with her employees, Betty Porto is engaging with her customers. Porto enjoys walking down the busy lines of her bakery to calm her hungry, impatient customers.
Many of them have been loyal regulars for years. But several of them are visitors from other cities or states, eager to know why this restaurant is so popular in Southern California.
Porto’s Bakery in Buena Park in Orange County has been open for nearly two weeks. That explains why the lines are so long.
“This [line] will not be here forever,” Porto explains as she greets her customers. “Just a lot of new people who don’t know what the menu has, and they are asking a lot of different questions, so it slows down the line, but a month later, everyone will be experts, and they’ll know what to do.”
This business woman is not camera shy at all. She happily poses with her customers when they ask her for a quick photo. Between photo snaps, customers tell her they’ve seen her on television — something she views as “free” advertising.
Bakery goers tell her how much they love her family’s treats. As one man asked, “When are you going to open in South Orange County?”
“Once we get this one off the ground, when there is no more lines,” Porto responded.
Another customer asked her if her family plans to open a bakery in the Inland Empire.
“All we’re thinking about right now is getting this one [Buena Park location] off the ground and opening the next one in West Covina,” Porto replied. She added that they have a spot and hope to open in 18 months.
Porto loves getting to know her employees, too.
“I always try to find out what their trajectory is, because some of them might go to business school and come back and run this place and be the managers,” Porto said. “So you have to have a conversation to be able to retain people.”
She wants to know what challenges they are facing in their lives and offer any support, if she can.
“What Betty likes to do is go to schools [and] lecture. Betty likes to go to universities and talk to kids to get them to stay in school and to keep studying because I think education is key to success. (My mother was an immigrant, but she had an education, and I think that helped her a lot.) And Betty loves to be chatting with the customers, and Betty wants to know people and she wants to establish a rapport, because at the end of the day this is a family bakery.”
Porto is a busy woman who interacts with people from all ages and backgrounds. She is not your average celebrity regardless of all the media coverage her bakery has received. She is a friendly, hard working woman who carries her family’s name with great pride and esteem.