Bien Dulce by Lee, founded by Michelle Rodríguez, is a family business where deserts are made daily to ensure total freshness. Located on Eleanor Roosevelt Avenue in Hato Rey, it is open from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. every day.
The business offers a very extensive and varied menu of desserts, ranging from cupcakes of all flavors, artisan bread, breakfast creams and sandwiches, to its special pockets stuffed with ham, sausage, pork and more.
Although small, Bien Dulce is hoping to reach a newly established goal of $30,000 in monthly revenue, in hopes of slowly relocating to a new area where it can better serve and reach more customers with expanded services.
“We arrive every day at 3 a.m. to make every pastry from scratch and ready to be served as soon as we open, ensuring that freshness that our customers love,” Rodríguez said, illustrating her bakery’s commitment to quality.
Rodríguez and her husband run the business with two employees, but are hoping to create more job opportunities in the bakery industry.
“Bien Dulce is a very demanding job, and not everybody wants to work arduous dawn hours to then deal with the morning rush of clientele,” Rodríguez said. “We need people who are willing to treat their customers with a lot of care and respect. One of the things that distinguishes us is how we treat our customers like family. We remember their names, we ask them how they are and we ask them about their families.”
Since the pandemic, Bien Dulce has offered even more personalized services, such as curbside pickup, so customers are able to order whatever they want from the comfort of their own homes. As soon as the bakery is notified of their arrival, the products are taken to customers’ vehicles, helping those who rush through morning breakfasts to get to work.
One of the biggest challenges the business is facing involves the frequent power outages on the island, particularly during hurricane season.
“When working in a bakery, you must make sure everything stays fresh, especially when it comes to the milk and other dairy products that need to be correctly refrigerated so they don’t go bad. These struggles sometimes result in more losses and need to be checked constantly,” Rodríguez said about their routine to ensure that every ingredient retains its quality.
When asked about being an entrepreneur and running her own business, Rodríguez offered some advice: “We, as entrepreneurs, experience a lot of struggles with the constant ups and downs that are brought upon us because of the current condition of our island; however, we must stay positive and determined to make our dreams a reality. Things will come in due time; we cannot lose hope.”