STRATEGICALLY located at Citi Triangle, fronting the Ateneo de Davao University at C.M. Recto St. is the Dicipolo Meal Station, which opened on January 5, this year.
The business may have just started but its owners, Nimrod and Vismalou (Chua) Malnegro, are no neophytes in the fastfood industry.
Nimrod is a proud Dabawenyo while Vismalou hails from Kidapawan City where her family runs the successful Boyaks restaurant.
Vismalou, who took up Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the University of Mindanao (UM) and is about to finish her nursing course, shared: "Our family in Kidapawan owns a restaurant business and since it is doing well, my husband and I saw the potential of putting up our own business as well."
She said they've been into different kinds of business in the past but it is only in the food business that they see a great potential to succeed.
"Our vision is to provide affordable yet delicious foods to students and employees who are our regular customers," she said.
The business name was coined from the word disciple, which means follower or student in the Bible.
She added, "Most of our loyal patrons are students of Ateneo."
She admitted that competition is tight but she is confident that they have what it takes to stay long in the business.
"We are resourceful and innovative. We always think of ways to make our products better and more appealing," she said.
She cited their value meals pegged at P35. The meal includes a choice of one viand (pork, chicken, beef or fish), one cup of rice, bowl of soup and iced tea.
She went on saying, "We also have our Japanese sweet corn sold for P20, arroz caldo at P15 per serving and pastries at P10. Our very sellable mango float that costs P10 per slice. We are going to introduce new products this week with pancit malabon and iced tea only for P25 and lomi for P15."
Dicipolo jumped off with a starting capital of P150,000 including purchase of equipment like refrigerator, food warmers, electric stove and slow cookers.
"The business is doing very well. Sales during our first month exceeded our expectations," she said.
The Malnegros keep a lean-but-mean team of four crews for Dicipolo. But they are set to open another food business southern part of Davao City on Tuesday, February 22.
Vismalou shared, "This new business of ours is another concept. It will have lechon manok with food express. We will be able to cater residences from Matina to Ulas, probably as far as Catalunan Grande to Catalunan Pequeño because our concept is to deliver food to residents of these areas. All they have to do is call us for their orders and that's the time we will cook their orders and deliver it to them fresh."
The business name of the new store will be Señoritos Lechon Manok and Food Express. It will be located along Crossing Balusong, Matina.
They also plan to put up a cafe and pastry business in the future.
She said, "Knowledge on the business is very important. Make sure to know the business that you are going into. There is a need to study it."
When asked about Dicipolo's distinct taste and service, she was quick to reply: "We serve Filipino-Chinese foods.
There's that taste of Chinese in our dishes that Filipinos love. We serve our customers with a smile (laughs)."