Joyful celebrations won’t be complete without at least one of these Conti’s signature dishes; Mango Bravo cake, Baked Salmon, and savory pies. Their distinct luscious green logo has always found its way into our homes, offices, events, and schools.
What once started as a small family restaurant, now flourished into a well-loved heritage brand, elevating the palate and dining experience of many Filipinos. Best of all, the excellent taste, quality, and service never fail to delight us. Conti’s has consistently been there with us in many of our celebrations throughout the years.
Flashbacks of precious memories come with every savory bite. Let’s walk back in memory lane, with second-generation Conti’s who have taken the helm, Patricia Tan, General Manager & Michael Martinez, Head of Business Development. They both grew up together witnessing the success of the brand and gathered insights from the journey and triumph, now let’s find out how they plan to take the brand to the next level.
Many may not know it was the entrepreneurial influence and industry of the Conti’s matriarch that inspired the founders. “My mom and aunts carried in their genes Lola’s entrepreneurial character. Lola would ride the bus and go to other people’s offices, sneaking in to sell peanuts in meetings. She was not shy about it. It was the very first Conti’s even without the logo yet,” recalls Patricia M. Tan.
Ms. Tan also recalls her very first memory of Conti’s, was with her Lola. During the first Christmas of Conti’s being launched, she recalls her Lola wrapped the ensaymadas by hand meticulously.
Michael on the other hand recalls his first memory of Conti’s to be at his Tita Carole’s kitchen. Her small home kitchen, which they call the “Tirona House”, eventually turned into a bakery and a warehouse. Every week, he would go there, see how stacked it would become, as more people started ordering the food they serve. Conti’s started in a home kitchen before they made a real official restaurant in President’s Avenue, in the BF Commercial area.
Influence on all senses
While it was their Lola’s passion in selling and cooking built the foundation of the family business, the two younger generations have their influences.
Tricia: “Conti’s influenced me in all aspects and in all senses. I remember how shy I was about our car smelling like Garlic Sotanghon all the time. Of course, it went away as I matured and recognized that this was what was keeping my mom happy. The ‘Tirona House’ Michael mentioned eventually became a bakeshop with a room to sleep in because it was full of boxes.
We know the three founders really worked hard to combine their individual strengths to come up with the best offerings with their blood and sweat. Michael relates that his mom would leave for work really early but would make sure she would be home in time for dinner. It was evident how the founders dedicated their lives to making Conti’s brand what it is today.
Now that it is their turn to lead the organization, they do have big shoes to fill.
The value lives on
“In terms of values, the founders are the kind of individuals who believe in honest-to-goodness business. They have a strong passion to delight customers with either the product they provide or the service they deliver. When it comes to the secret ingredient, there’s no secret. It’s really hard work and perseverance. I would like to add humility in serving the food, and providing that wonderful experience to every customer they touch. My Tita Carole told me this before, “make something that looks and tastes premium but affordable”.
It’s never been about money, margins, or profit. It’s about making people happy through our good food because it’s a catalyst for gatherings and family time. In terms of the values, it’s something that’s unseen. It’s being God-centered because behind all the hard work and the success, it was really through prayers.” Ms. Tan reiterated
As the lead in Business Development, Mr. Martinez believes change is constant, and the founders believed the same way. The founders were naturally on the front of food trends. They travel abroad, and they look at what’s good and create something similar that would go with the taste and affordability of the Filipinos. Innovation has always been in the blood of Conti’s founders. Perhaps where they were conservative was the growth of the business. They were more passionate about their craft and creating an array of culinary treasures. “Speaking on behalf of my role, I think the speed of us being able to reach more communities and families outside Metro Manila, Luzon wide, and even nationwide really excites me and the team. Eventually, we want Conti’s to become a heritage brand that every Filipino will be proud of, like how OFWs will cherish us as a home away from home.”
“I feel it’s such a big responsibility being here as a second-generation because they’ve trusted us. We’ve seen the brand grow, and we’ve seen the brand flourish. Some things will not change such as the values that were embedded in us as the children of the founders” relates Ms. Patricia Tan.
The second-generation Conti’s are filling in the big shoes successfully as they continue to innovate while keeping the founder’s core values intact. They would one day want to reach every Filipino Household one cake at a time.
Keeping true to their mission: To elevate people’s palates when it comes to cakes and food.
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