26 Sep 2018, 10:00 — 8 min read
Business: John’s Gourmet Kitchen; Fish & Chicks
Founder: John Lloyd Quiaonza
Year it was founded: John’s Gourmet Kitchen (2016); Fish & Chicks (2017)
Industry: Food & Beverage
Location: John’s Gourmet Kitchen (Cabuyao, Laguna); Fish & Chicks (San Rafael, Sto. Tomas, Batangas)
Food for the body is not enough, there must be food for the soul. – Dorothy Day
John Lloyd Quiaonza epitomises the belief that food must bring joy and nourish the soul. In 2015 John decided to leave his corporate job and pursue his food dream. He faced initial failure, but that only strengthened his resolve to succeed. He went on to establish his restaurant, John’s Gourmet Kitchen in 2016, which is famous for his signature brand Spoonful Desserts – Flavored Leche Flan. With his characteristic flair and ingenuity, John popularised the concept of selling Leche Flan in a glass jar. He has honed his business acumen by being part of Alohap, DTI and the Kapatif Mentor Me Program. Last year, John opened his second restaurant – Fish & Chicks which features a large whole fried chicken served with fries and veggies.
Constant innovation and upgrading his skills, has been John’s recipe for success. He believes in sharing his knowledge and wisdom with upcoming entrepreneurs and has established the ‘Young Entrepreneur Society’ towards that end.
In conversation with GlobalLinker (GL), John Lloyd Quiaonza (John) shares his business journey.
GL: Tell us about your business.
John: My dream has always been to be a foodpreneur. I started John’s Gourmet Kitchen in 2016. My brand is Spoonful Desserts - Flavored Leche Flan. I now also have a newly opened restaurant which is Fish & Chicks, located in San Rafael, Sto. Tomas, Batangas.
I started my business journey in 2015 after I left my job in the corporate world. But then, my first business failed so I had to go back to a corporate job. In 2016, I started my Leche Flan business. At that time, cheesecake in a jar was quite popular. Since Leche Flan is my favourite dessert, I came up with the idea to market it in a jar. The idea was to sell to my neighbours and friends, so I used Facebook to market it.
Soon my posts and my clients' posts were trending on Facebook. That's how I got discovered by Alahop and DTI. This opened a lot of opportunities for me because I was able to take part in trade fairs. When I became part of the Kapatid Mentor Me Program in July 2017, I realised the mistakes I had made in my first business.
I got exposed to a large market and network and I established my own group in Cabuyao, Laguna called ‘Young Entrepreneur Society’. Its aim is to help and mentor startups and young entrepreneurs in Cabuyao. We also organize food parks in Cabuyao and have been guests on TV and radio shows.
All the support I received from DTI and Go Negosyo motivated me to do better in my business.
GL: What makes your business stand out?
John: The unique selling proposition (USP) of my product is that it's a dessert on the go. It comes with six unique flavors which I tested for a long time. I studied which flavors millennials would like. Because admit it or not, millennials are the market today.
My leche flan's market is Class A and B. That's why I market it particularly in cafes, restaurants, and malls.
In Fish & Chicks, I promote the giant fried chicken. I chose chicken because Filipinos love chicken! Adults and children alike, will be amazed when they see chicken in a giant size. It's one whole chicken with fries and veggies.
GL: What are the challenges you’ve faced in establishing your business?
John: One thing I won’t forget is the time when I thought my product was good but then I had the wrong market. In DTI I learned that there is a right product for the right market. Just because you have a good product doesn't mean people will buy it.
Also managing people is always challenging for an entrepreneur. I came to a point that I had business losses because I was not able to manage my people well. The quality of the product was affected; they took advantage of me. That’s why today, I’m very hands on in my business.
GL: What are some of your business milestones?
John: When I started out,I thought I would just sell my products within our barangay. I didn't expect that I'll be invited to various radio shows to showcase my business as well as support KMME (Kapatid Mentor Me Program). I've had a lot of speaking engagements and expanded my connections within our LGU (Local Government Unit). I'm now one of the foremost consultants when it comes to business.
I also did not expect that I would open another restaurant. I thought I would focus on doing Leche Flan because, it’s the one thing that gave a lot of opportunities to me. But I’ve managed to branch out my business. I am also happy to have been able to build a group and mentor startup entrepreneurs in Cabuyao. These are the things I never imagined before but now it's happening and I'm extremely happy.
GL: How did you leverage social media and online marketing to grow your business?
John: I studied how Facebook works because that's already very popular. I particularly studied boosting ads on Facebook. Facebook has a platform for e-commerce and I focused on that. I realized that I'll have a wider market if I promote my products on social media and this paid off for me.
Online marketing is essential these days. I've experienced the traditional business format where you have a store and you sell. Usually, you face difficulties in selling because there’s huge competition. Whereas in an online business, wherever you are in the Philippines, you can still sell your product.
GL: How can UnionBank GlobalLinker help you grow your business?
John: I saw a lot of entrepreneurs within Cabuyao when I registered on UnionBank GlobalLinker. It’s good because it widens your network. Of course, as an entrepreneur, it’s not that you always know everything. There’s often likely to be someone who is better than you, who can help you. You can also market your product to them.
GL: What is your big business dream?
John: When I was working in the corporate world, someone asked me, what’s your dream? I told them that I want to build a food empire. They all laughed at me at that time; who am I to do it? But then, I told them, I'm starting it now. It's not easy. But I'm ready for it because I'm a risk taker. Even though I may experience business losses, it’s okay because it’s part of the learning process. And today my food dream has come true!
GL: What is your message to aspiring entrepreneurs?
John: Sleep while you still have a chance. Because once you enter business, there will hardly be any time for rest or sleep!
Have courage, pray, and don't stop learning. If you will not innovate, you will evaporate—that's how tough the competition is now.
Always put your heart in your business.
Network with John Lloyd Quiaonza by clicking on the 'Invite' button on his profile.
Disclaimer: This article is based solely on the inputs shared by the featured member. GlobalLinker does not necessarily endorse the views, opinions & facts stated by the member.
Posted byGlobalLinker Staff
We are a team of experienced industry professionals committed to sharing our knowledge and skills with small & medium enterprises.
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