Sunday July 22, 2018

Putting a spin on old favorites

LICENSED nurses Carlo and Marione Dico, both 29, ditched the world of health care to become entrepreneurs.

Being food lovers themselves, it didn’t take them long to start talking about what it would be like to run a business of their own. They had a growing family to support and both wanted to own their time and money.

While many are drawn to local favorites, Carlo, Marione’s “master chef”, strived to evolve Kuzina Guadalupe’s food menu by introducing innovative spins to its well-known boneless lechon, which was introduced in 2013, and later on grilled tuna panga (fish head or jaw).

Carlo said it was his own concoction of boneless lechon that helped the food business take off after experiencing losses in a lechon manok franchise and other side businesses in the past.

“Behind our success story is a tale of our first effort and a setback, which we both embraced and learned from. We never doubted this idea of getting into food the business and it turns out we are right,” said Marione, who revealed they never really had a formal training on business.

She said what they have is the love for food and the determination to make the business venture work for their two children.

They brought the business to Sugbo Mercado, which earned a good following from the diners. They took advantage of their presence at the food bazaar to market their brand and their boneless lechon.

Seeing that the bazaar needed another food concept to attract more diners to keep coming back, Carlo introduced grilled tuna panga, which has become a well-loved food choice at the bazaar. They also introduced shrimps.

Aside from selling boneless lechon that suited Cebuanos’ taste, Marione thinks there are a few other reasons the business took off.

Offering grilled tuna panga at a price that is easy on the pocket attracted the diners, especially those who are budget-conscious. Second, eating boneless lechon and a grilled tuna panga at an outdoor, down-to-earth setting makes one crave for more food. Lastly, she said the food bazaar concept is already a culinary destination, an effective drawer of people who want to see more food choices at pocket-friendly rates.

The mushrooming of food bazaars in the city pushed Carlo and Marione to expand their business. They opened in Fiesta Minore and recently in Tinda Locale at Cebu Business Park.

“The food industry in Cebu is getting exciting. Our growth proves there is money in food and startups like us certainly have a place in this industry,” said Carlo.

Because these food bazaars don’t operate daily, the couple opened last Monday a stand-alone Kuzina Guadalupe in Talamban.