Patricia Aleckzandra | FoodFindsAsia
Eating is one habit Filipinos have loved ever since. Looking up for a decent restaurant to satisfy our curious taste buds can be a tough job to ordinary citizens. A new cuisine will caught interest of a foodies out there. That is why a lot of businessmen and women venture to the food industry. Cyma and Green Pastures owner and chef Robby Goco said that in order to be successful in the Philippines, one should own a cuisine.
During their talk at the first Philippine Restaurant Investment Conference, Chef Robby Goco and Chef Josh Boutwood discussed success factors in operating chef-conceived and chef-driven restaurants. They identified four factors that can be useful in putting up a restaurant.
- CONCEPT. Themed restaurant nowadays is a hype. One of the things both chefs agree on is that your concept should be original as possible, and interesting enough to spark the interest of your customers. But coming up with a concrete concept is difficult. Good thing chef Goco pointed out some few points on how to formulate a good concept, and what to consider after you have created it.
- Don’t Try to Feed Everyone. One key to create the concept is to focus on a niche market. Simplify and be specific enough about your restaurant. Make it a point that your market can describe your restaurant in a few words.
- Don’t Jump in Under Capitalized. Always stay within the budget. Partner with people who can also bring, not only money, but something more on the table.
- Don’t Do What Others Can Do. Do not jump to what is trendy and hip. Be unique and find something to stand out. Think of the things that is not yet in the market.
- Two things you should consider about your product: the ingredients and the recipes.
Now that people are more into healthier food, it is more advisable to keep your ingredients fresh and organic. Be familiar with local products – from what is growing in this particular season to how long it will be available in the market. Develop good relationship with potential suppliers. Having regular suppliers can give one a chance to quality check their supplied products. If by any chance, you have to outsource ingredients, make sure they will offer better quality products than yours.
As for your recipes, it is better if it is freshly prepared rather than microwave-ready. The concept of microwavable food fits for grab-and-go restaurants. Besides, it’s better eating freshly prepared dishes. Also, always make sure to constantly challenge your menu. This means that you should offer your consumers something new in your menu to keep their interest. One tip if you have branched out: Offer different menus for different branches. Keep in mind Chef Goco’s words of wisdom: “Good food is a right, not a privilege.”
- You cannot be in two places at once and you cannot monitor your restaurant 24/7 forever. That is why you have to have a team. It is important to delegate tasks but never assume that your people know what they are doing. Train them hands-on from the smallest details to the biggest. Always remember to incorporate yourself in what they are doing. Let them be reminded that they should work like how you do the work.
- Of all the things both chefs mentioned, it is the passion for preparing and serving food they highlighted. Doing the things with love is what makes it a lot more successful. A good example is Chef Boutwood’s Alchemy in Boracay. He said: “I want good food. I want people to be happy. I want people to come back.” And his passion to serve good food has paid off. Now, Alchemy is one of the most visited restaurant in the island.
Entering the food industry (or any other industries for that matter) requires hard work. Learn your basics and never stop learning new things. Always serve good food and service. Eventually, it will all come back to you. Always remember to give your 100% because owning a restaurant is giving all. Like what chef Boutwood said: “It’s blood, sweat and tears…” ALL. IN. ONE.