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SBA Success Story: Moctezuma’s Restaurant and Tequila Bar Award-Winning Tacoma Restaurant Finds Recipe for Success

Staff making fresh tortillas


As Bernie Garcia took joint ownership of his father’s restaurant and assumed the role of president of Moctezuma’s in 2005, following this restaurant’s 27 years in operation, he knew he wanted to grow the business substantially. With two already successful locations, Garcia decided to rebrand and expand.



During the next 10 years, with help from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 7a Loan Program, Garcia rebranded the restaurant to Moctezuma’s Restaurant and Tequila Bar. He found success in offering more than 100 brands and types of tequila. Using the SBA 7(a) Loan Program again, he opened two more locations in the south Puget Sound area.



Garcia’s rebranding and expansion paid off. Moctezuma’s went from $3 million in annual revenue to more than $18 million. Plus, the business employs nearly 400 staff at four locations in Gig Harbor, Silverdale, Tacoma and Tukwila, Washington. The restaurant has received multiple local and national awards, to include “KING 5’s Best of…” and the 2017 Seattle SBA Family-Owned Small Business of the Year. Garcia says he plans to continue growth, with hopes to open another location north of Seattle. Garcia plans to add another location north of Seattle; and, is launching Grandeza, a new liqueur in a patented bottle in July 2017 designed to pair with their top-shelf margarita.


From the owner

“There are some great benefits and advantages to being a small business owner, but it comes at a cost; not everyone has the discipline to run a successful business where you are responsible for the lives of 400 people,” Garcia said. “Not only those employees but their families as well. I love what I do and I would never trade it for anything else.”



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Moctezuma’s Restaurant and Tequila Bar