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About The Program

About The Program

States Diner is a culinary school program for the orphans, incarcerated youth aging out of private, and government foster care centers in El Salvador or government education support programs. The culinary school program is a combination of four projects five locations: a restaurant called States Diner, a bakery called States Bakes and 2 snack bars called States Diner Café and our newest location on the other side of the city States Diner Station.

Located in the heart of the city of San Salvador, States Diner is a 60’s style North American style restaurant, a family friendly environment with a menu of North American dishes. We don’t have TVs, we don’t offer Wi-Fi, and we don’t serve alcohol. We make our own bread and desserts for the Diner, and café locations in the States Bakes bakery. We also bake special bread for other local restaurants, and we also offer pastries to customers that visit us at the bakery. We also have two Cafes locations in Parque Cuscatlán. A beautiful public park located near downtown and is a nice place to go with family and friends. We serve hotdogs, nachos, popcorn, wraps, coffee, sweet breads and more.

States Diner Menu

menu copy.jpg
States Diner Menu

How Does It Work?

In El Salvador, when you are eighteen years old in a government orphanage the kids are released, regardless of if they have a place to go or not. Because of their level of education, the boys and girls cannot get a job. Some kids are moved from one center to another for different reasons like behavior, abuse, medical conditions, disabilities, etc. These moves between centers tend to interrupt their education progress, they sometimes stop studying for an entire year because of this. We have had cases of boys and girls with low education, ranging from 4th grade to high school and most formal jobs in El Salvador require at least High School diploma (11th grade). These young adults are at the highest risk of becoming homeless, involved in gangs, start using drugs or involved in prostitution.

The culinary school program is a two-year job opportunity with all 4 projects for young adults. The program is based on trust, loyalty, and responsibility. We have different areas in which they can develop skills, knowledge, and work experience. Kitchen (Preparation), Wait Staff (Customer Service), Dish and cleaning (general staff). They can start doing simple tasks like sweeping, washing dishes, or maybe just opening the door to greet the customers, but hopefully they will grow into different positions that will teach them new skills for a future job after they leave the program. It gives good references on their resume.

We partner with many private orphanages, government organizations, such as CONAPINA, USAID, Cambia tu Vida and other NGO’s. These organizations and NGO’s share the history of the young adult when we first set up an interview to know their basic story, to see what abilities they have and to explain what the Culinary School Program is all about. Once they have been interviewed, we offer them training in one of our different locations, depending on their skills and our open job positions. This project started out as a way to employ our young adults in our transition homes when we saw that it was impossible for them get a job even in a fast-food restaurant or gas station without a high school education.

We must train most of them from the very beginning. Most of them have never held jobs before. So, we are the first interview that they have ever had, we give them feedback on how they could have done better. Because they have not had previous experience, we have to talk about showing up early so they are on time, clothing that is appropriate and hygiene because most of them come from such a poor background, they just do not know. They usually start in an entry level position in the kitchen area (prep, dishwasher, janitor, etc.), wait staff after they learn the menu. This allows them to start understanding how each project works, we give them a 30-day trial period where they are assigned. We then evaluate them and let them know how to improve so they can start as full-time employees.

After a young adult has been for two years in the program, we review their performance as an employee and talk with them about their strengths and weaknesses, we give them a culinary school diploma and refer them to other restaurants, hardware stores, businesses so they can start a new life working in other places. If a young adult in the program has exceeded expectations and has shown respect, responsibility, proactiveness and capabilities to become a leader then we sometimes offer the young adult a management position so they can work for the foundation as a permanent employee, training the next generation.

How Does It Work?


In 2014 Sus Hijos / His Children Foundation opened the States Diner first location in El Salvador. Located in “Paseo General Escalon 4014, Col. Escalon, San Salvador.” This school-restaurant allowed us to provide job opportunities for young adults coming from government and private orphanages, centers, prisons and educational programs for children and youth. 

In 2017 States Bakes opened. It was just a small area in the States Diner where we started baking our own bread for our burgers, hot dogs, French toast, bagels, biscuits, sweets, etc. The restaurant began providing custom-ordered bread for other local businesses in San Salvador that knew about our culinary program and wanted to help kids.  

In 2019 States Diner Café opened two locations in Parque Cuscatlán, with the help of USAID, the embassy of the United States in El Salvador and The Howard G. Buffett Foundation. The park went through a remodeling of over 20 million dollars. We were granted the exclusivity for the park to be the only 2 snack stands. These locations became a great asset for our program. We now pay rent for these 2 locations, and they generate income for the program sustainability and gave us the ability to hire 8-10 other young adults who otherwise would not be able to find employment.

In 2020 we moved our project States Diner to an almost new two-story building that has an upgraded electrical system, twice the parking spaces, a cold room, located just one block away from our old location but with more exposure. We are truly blessed to be in this new location. One hurdle we had to overcome was that we could not move the bakery to the new location, just not enough dedicated space for a bakery. God had so much more in store for us, we had to move the States Bakes bakery and now it has its own location for the first time. This has been an improvement to the bakery project and now we are expecting to expand the bakery so that will help us offer more jobs to young adults. It also has dedicated office space for the Foundation to operate as a proper nonprofit.

In December of 2020 we received an unexpected grant from the German embassy. We opened a 5th location called the States Diner Station. Like an old-fashioned one-room diner with bar seating and only 4 tables. This location is on the other side of the city, close to the American embassy and next to many different offices. We have a different menu and are now offering a drive-up service. It did give us the opportunity to hire another 12 young adults. (closed 2 years after it opened, due to lack of cliental).

History of States Diner
States Diner Photo
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