- Published on Friday, 06 July 2012 00:00
- Written by RICHMOND S. MERCURIO
By A Web design Company
A fast food chain named after its owner’s former househelp is making huge waves in the local fast food industry, transforming a small stall in a weekend food market into a major restaurant business with nine branches in less than two years.
Since it started its operations two years ago, Giabella Foods Corp.’s Manang’s Chicken has quickly progressed to become the next big thing in the country’s fast food scene.
From a simple chicken recipe often cooked by her mother in their home in San Pedro, Laguna, owner Jill Borja decided to sell the family’s dish on a weekend food market at the Fort in December 2010.
Borja opened up a small stall in the food market and named it after their former househelp, Manang Linda.
“My mom taught ‘manang’ the recipe. Since then, she always cooked the recipe to us during normal days and family gatherings until it became popular with our relatives and friends that they started referring to it as “the chicken of manang,” Borja said.
Manang Linda, who is now in her late 60s, has retired from working with the family.
Borja said she once offered Manang Linda to cook for the stall, but “manang” declined due to her age. Instead, Borja started with two employees to man the store with P15,000 as her capital.
“At first, no one was paying attention to us because there are many stalls in the food bazaar. Despite that, we continued with the business and eventually it got around that our chicken was delicious. Lines started getting longer in our stall and that was when the popularity of Manang’s Chicken started,” Borja said.
“At first, we consumed only about 15 kilos of chicken until it grew to a point that we reached 200 kilos every weekend,” she added.
Borja said she decided to open the first Manang’s Chicken store in Ortigas in June 2011 not only because of the number of customers lining up to taste their chicken recipe during the weekend food market, but also due to the growing number of people often inquiring for other branch locations.
Borja invested P1.5 million in the fast food’s first branch, and added 30 more employees to go along with it.
“We saw the opportunity because people liked it so I felt there’s no harm in investing a million or two,” she said.
The first branch in Ortigas immediately received the same response as the small stall in Mercato Centrale, so Borja decided to open more branches in other locations as well.
Manang’s Chicken has now grown to nine branches in different parts of Metro Manila. All nine branches are company-owned.
By the next 12 months, Borja said, she is expecting the business to grow 40 to 50 more branches as it will start opening its doors to franchising by the fourth quarter of the year.
The food chain’s workforce now totals 180 employees, she said.
“Our revenue is enough to keep us motivated to expand,” she said.
Borja said she is also looking at putting up Manang’s Chicken in provincial locations by this year.
“We have to act as if we are big so people would think that we are big, and eventually we will become big,” Borja said.