3. Erica Aquino, co-owner of 49B Heirloom Kitchen
Coming from a family with a background on food business, Erica Aquino opened 49B Heirloom Kitchen as kind of like an extension of their home. When she did her OJT in Texas, Erica was exposed to a lot Mexican food that it became her obsession when she came back. She is aware that food fads do not last long, though, which is why they serve different cuisines in 49B.
“Follow you passion.” You must love what you do in order to succeed in the industry you’re in. Erica also advises to not be too stressed when it comes to running your business. She recalls the time they first opened, people lined up for 3 hours and she said it was embarrassing. Erica took it as a learning experience and now, she adjusts according to the situation.
2. Angelique Castro and Aby Nachura, owners of Stacy’s
Prop stylist, Angelique Castro, and Food stylist, Aby Nachura, conceptualized Stacy’s while on a photo shoot. They were inspired with one of the layouts where the atmosphere was very light and happy, so they thought that it would be nice to have a place with that kind of feeling. They even named it after Angelique’s grandmother, who lived very positively, which is the kind of atmosphere they wanted for their restaurant. Everything, from the design to the menu, is original. Angelique took care of the interiors, while Aby took care of the menu. Their backgrounds, being very much related, made their partnership a success.
“Money and passion.” In life, there should always be a balance and that balance goes into business as well. Like the old saying goes, “Jack of all trades, master of none, certainly better than master of one,” they advise to not focus on one thing because everything else will be sacrificed. Putting up a restaurant will take a toll on your bank account, but your creativity should not suffer just so you could save lots. Also, respect the people who work for you, and have integrity and patience.
1. Dixie Mariñas, co-owner of Lulu + Hooch
Dixie Mariñas has always been in love with food, just like the rest of us! She moved to Switzerland to study Hotel and Restaurant Management. When she came back, she started working with Chef Tom Hines, and they started to be consultants for restaurants. When their firm got bigger, they thought that it is time for them to open their restaurant. They purchased Lu Restaurant then rebranded it to Lulu restaurant. Adjacent to Lulu is a bar called Hooch, which is an alcohol drink term used during the prohibition era.
“Start new.” Dixie said that one of the things she’ll never do again is to buy an existing restaurant then rebrand it. She says that when you open a restaurant, your personality should be in it. She also says that you should invest in your people. You must also know what you are doing because if you do and your people see that, they will follow you. Restaurant owners must lead by example.
Putting up a restaurant is no easy task. These restaurateurs worked hard as much as they could to get to where they are now, and so should you! Take these advices and get started on that dream business of yours.
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