“The House of Caramel Beer” has finally opened in Cebu.

Rue Cebu is run by the three children of Eric and Jackie Mendoza: Elisha, Jeric and Jeff. SunStar Lifestyle had the opportunity to interview them about the business and what makes Rue Cebu a must-visit for Cebuano.

SunStar LIVE! (LIVE!): How did you prepare yourselves to manage Rue and how has the experience been?

Elisha: “Our parents are both very active in business. My brothers and I grew up being exposed to it at a very young age. We always participated whenever we could. Whenever we’d attend meetings and conferences with my dad, he would tell us to take notes and report to him about our learnings and opinions. Anywhere we go, whether we’re traveling, attending an event or just going out to eat, my dad’s always been very observant with the details. I think that’s something we learned from him so we try to pick up new learnings wherever we go.

When it comes to operating restaurants, our family has also had some experience as we’ve operated a couple of outlets in the past. Plus, the kitchen is my brother Jeff’s element. He cooks really good food at home. What’s different this time about Rue, is that not only is it a restaurant, but it’s also a bar. That’s where we, younger ones, come in with our experiences. Challenges are a natural part of the experience so we always look at them as opportunities to learn and grow. When you believe in your vision and enjoy what you do, the experience is always fun and fulfilling. We’re always learning and we’re lucky that in our family, we’re always supporting each other. When we discuss things in our family, everyone’s inputs are heard and we’re always ready to pitch in when one of us needs help juggling the workload.”

LIVE!: Why did your family choose to acquire the Rue franchise?

Jeric: “Our family’s vision is to offer Cebu a wider and better selection of options especially for places where Cebuanos can enjoy great food, good vibes and a vibrant nightlife. It was actually my dad and my sister who discovered Rue.”

Elisha: “I studied at De La Salle University Manila back then. During my college years, my friends and I often hung out at Rue. I loved their signature Caramel beer and innovative food menu. One day, my dad asked me to name something unique that’s in Manila but not in Cebu yet. Naturally, Rue was the first that came to mind.”

Jeff: “Yeah, this sparked the curiosity in all of us, so we all tried it out at different times when we each visited Manila. I personally fell in love with the brand after having their Roast Beef and Juicy Ribs. My sister and brother loved the drinks. My parents loved the energy of the place. At that point it was safe to say that we had found a brand that could spice up the drinking and dining scene in the island.”

LIVE!: What are the family criteria for acquiring any franchise?

Elisha: “We always look at market feasibility especially since markets in different geographic locations have their own distinct preferences and characteristics. Also, because we always put ourselves in the shoes of the customers, we put a great emphasis on the value that we offer to the customer.”

Jeric: “Another important criteria for our family, would have to be the uniqueness of the concept. This is because with a unique concept, you can attract customers to come visit no matter how near or far you are from their residence because the store would be a destination.

Jeff: “We also look at the type of support a franchisor offers and how they collaborate with franchisees. We’re grateful that the guys at Rue have been very supportive.”

LIVE!: What makes Rue different from other pubs? Is the menu in Cebu the same as the ones in other Rue outlets?

Jeric: “Rue is different from other pubs in the sense that we offer a creative and unique selection of food and drinks paired with a good time. The food that we offer has a mix of Filipino, Italian, Mexican and American cuisines. Some pubs only focus on the drinks but Rue focuses on serving great drinks with great food and great experiences.”

Jeff: “We also noticed that a lot of brands that are brought to Cebu from other places in the Philippines make the mistake of trading off the quality of their food and drinks just to be able to lower their prices to ‘Cebu-level.’ This is a misconception of the Cebu market. Cebuanos do know how to spend as long as they are guaranteed the true and full value of what they are paying for. We all agreed that we would not make the same mistake so we made it a point to deliver the full Rue experience to Cebuanos no matter the cost.

Elisha: “Yes, so we do our best to keep the experience consistent while taking into consideration the local market so we make sure to have all the best sellers but we’re also constantly updating our menu. One of the things that really stood out for us was Rue’s innovative spirit. Rue is very strong in terms of product development so here at Rue, we always strive to spice things up and bring something new to the table. When there’s something new in Manila, we try to bring it to Cebu as well if we think it would work here.”

LIVE!: How did your cooks/chefs learn to cook the food in Rue’s menu?

Elisha: “People are always at the heart of the business so we’re fortunate to have cooks who are flexible and fast learners. They were trained in Manila by the corporate chef, who has experience from training and working in New York.”

Jeric: “Investing in their training in Manila, for us, was a more effective approach in order for them to fully immerse in Rue’s operations.”

LIVE!: What are the patrons’ favorites?

Jeff: “For food, people especially love the Sisig Nachos, the Juicy Ribs, the 6-Hour Roast Beef, the Rockefeller Oysters and the Mexican Beef Birria served with tomato salsa and truffle au jus.”

Jeric: “A lot of people also love our All Meat Pizza and our Six Cheese Pizza.”

Elisha: “For the drinks, almost everyone who comes to Rue, orders our signature Caramel Beer either in the huge beer glasses or in the barrels. Our Cucumber beer has also been popular especially since it’s quite refreshing for the summer season. For cocktails, our Southern Potion a.k.a our Amaretto Sour and our Mojito Minx have become popular as well.”

Jeric: “For me, Rue doesn’t try to be pretentious. Instead, we focus on delivering fun flavors that hit all the right spots.”

Rue Cebu is located at Meerea High Street, on Ouano Ave., Reclamation Area, Subangdaku, Mandaue City, Cebu. It is open from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Sunday and from Tuesday to Thursday. Then, on Friday and Saturday, it is open from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. Rue is closed on Monday.