They say that behind every great brand is a great mind and a great story. As such, we have interviewed some of the successful entrepreneurs and restaurateurs of today to give us a sneak peak of the sweet beginnings and rough roads they had to go through before reaching their peak. Meet the persons behind the big brands and discover the shortest way to success through their shared experiences, pitfalls and learning.
5 Successful Entrepreneurs and Restaurateurs and the Great Stories Behind Them
5. Robert Spakowski – Executive Chef of Tapella
Chef Robert Spakowski of Tapella
With a Degree in Culinary Arts and Tech Management from CCA and a second diploma from the International Culinary Center in New York, Chef Spakowski started his dream of having his own restaurant on a very young age. Coming from a family with Capampangan roots, Spakowski’s passion for culinary rose from his observations since young that good food is the formula that makes everybody happy, creates lasting bonds and unending healthy conversations. From these observations, he started Tapella.
With a team of 7, Tapella has its flow when it comes to managing orders from tables, the quality of food, how it can be improved and how to make it more stable. Chef Spakowski remains firm on his standards of following procedures when preparing food. Learning from his past, Chef Spakowski believes that it is important to travel more, work longer in other countries to be able to discover new cuisines and hear other shop’s stories. As to his advice to future and aspiring chefs, “They have to realize one tune – It is not a glamorous job as it may seem. Being a chef is a very difficult profession so you must choose wisely”.
Read more about Tapella here: Tapella Launches New Menu: Muy Delicioso!
4. Barbes Trinidad Pio – Owner of Royal Chimney
What started as a hobby then became passion that drove her to take up Food Technology in college and courses in Culinary and baking afterwards. If she could give an advice to herself after all that she had experienced, it is not to invest too much emotion and trust. “I would tell my old self not to rush things. It’s always mind over matter when it comes to business. Putting up a business is not something that could be done overnight. It requires lot of efforts, knowledge on the industry and lot of good people around you to support you all the way”.
3. Angela Songco – Co-owner of Sugarleaf
“Serendipity!” that’s how Angelo Songco describes how he and his friend Gina Salting Yambot came up with the idea of starting Sugarleaf. With his sales and marketing experience and his over 10 years of being in the corporate world, Songco and his partner started Sugarleaf in early 2011 on their first location in San Juan.
Emerging from other organic coffee shop, Songco and the whole Sugarleaf team promotes and focuses on locally sourced, grown and manufactured healthy products. Also, they highlight and showcase proudly Pinoy products as they are a one stop shop bringing customers fresher and more nutritionally appropriate products.
Being part of Sugarleaf is one of Songco’s best decisions in life due to their loyal customers. And with this, he shared a piece of their secret to gaining customers. “We are true to our philosophy of ‘Honest to Goodness’. We operate based on this that puts God, our customer and partners first. Profit, though important, is not the primary motivation of our business.”
2. Jackie Arceo – Co-Founder of Local Edition Coffee and Tea
A duo of alumni from Dela Salle University were the ones behind the idea of putting up a local coffee and tea shop. Jackie Arceo and her partner/best friend Julia Sevilla have known each other since college. Jackie, an advertising graduate, handles the food side on the café after finally deciding to leave her corporate job and go full time with the business.
Being strong advocates of supporting local products and the local community, Jackie and her partner named the café as Local Edition Coffee and Tea. Why local? The café serves locally produced coffee from local communities instead of importing as they believe that local products is even better than imported ones.
As their edge from other cafes, Local Edition Coffee and Tea stays true to its brand values of using local products from local communities and collaborating with a lot of local artisans. “We being true to our values is our competitive advantage and we are open to a lot of collaborators. We don’t just collaborate with people for installation but we try to learn and grow with them”.
Read more about Local Edition here: Local Edition: The Pinoy Coffee Perfection
1. Albert Alavera – Owner of Burgoo
Starting from the bottom, Albert Alavera is the best example of success due to strong determination, hard work and perseverance.
Started as a dishwasher, pizza maker, cook server and other tough jobs on the lowest rank, he rose and became Vice President for Operations of the largest pizza chain in the country. From these experiences, his passion to hospitality industry became an obsession that made way to conceptualization of Burgoo.
Burgoo and Alavera’s other chains of restaurants focus on “family-concept” service. It is a combination of eating and entertainment concept where guests can bond with their kids, friends and co-workers. One of his best decision in life is when he decided to make the single concept into chain that provided jobs to lot of people.
Aside from being hardworking and trailblazer, Alavera shared some of his habits that helped him rose from the bedrock to the hill. “I always encourage people to set their goals and to work really hard to achieve it. I always share my story of how I started before I reached where I am today. Save money and be prudent on what to buy. There should always be limitations in everything that we do and spend.”
Every brand has a great mind and a long story behind them. As to these persons, the journey was never easy but moving forward is a lot easier than giving up. Today, these entrepreneurs continue to apply what they learn from the past and embrace new learnings of the future.
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