18 Nov 2019, 08:30 — 6 min read
What seemed to be an unfortunate event – getting laid off at work - became an opportunity for Alaine and Michael Alejandrino to turn their love for food into a full-blown business.
With the mission to make authentic Japanese street food affordable for Filipinos, Alaine and Michael established King Tako in Pasig City and Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall, which only started as a small food business supplying unlimited Takoyaki to different events. King Tako is also now open for franchise and accepting applications from entrepreneurs who want to venture into Japanese food business.
In conversation with UnionBank GlobalLinker (GL), Alaine Alejandrino (AJ) and Michael Alejandrino (MJ) share how they have withstood all challenges to grow their business.
AJ: We started when my husband lost his 10-year job and he got sick for almost a year. He took an early retirement and we still didn't have a baby in our 5 years of marriage. So we decided that it’s about time to look for other sources of income.
MJ: At first, we tried working from home. Then, we entered the retail business—selling perfume, bags, and makeup. We tried several businesses until we went to Japan and tried Japanese street food.
AJ: Here in the Philippines, when we say authentic Japanese food, the cost will be about Php 200 and above. So we thought of offering affordable yet authentic Japanese food. Our supplier of ingredients is all the way from Japan.
MJ: My sibling has a restaurant in Japan so I studied our recipe there. I studied everything that we are offering here. Our baby octopus is the only ingredient that we source in the Philippines to keep the freshness, but the rest of the ingredients come from Japan.
Don’t be too excited to quit your job immediately. Just because you have enough capital doesn’t mean that your business will succeed. You should only quit your job when your business can sustain you.
MJ: It went fine. But when you venture into retail business, your profit margin is quite little since it’s not your own product. You don’t have a brand because you’re a reseller only. In King Tako, we have our own brand and product, so our profit margin is much bigger.
MJ: The most challenging part of having a food business is getting manpower, especially in the generation today where people just suddenly quit.
Also read: 3 employee retention strategies to ultimately increase your business revenue
MJ: We are now open for franchising since we received a lot of inquiries for that. We were not entertaining this idea of franchising for the last two years because we didn’t want to compromise the quality of our products. But we are now open for franchise. Starting early next year, we are expecting to have more stores open.
AJ:Unionbank Globalinker helps expand our network of likeminded individuals. We also look forward to meeting future business partners and investors.
MJ: There was a time when we were the ones manning our business. We didn’t get any staff. We were not able to fix our costing that time because we didn’t consider employing staff on our pricing. But we have been able to solve that now.
MJ: First of all, when we started our business, my wife still had a job. Don’t be too excited to quit your job immediately. Just because you have enough capital doesn’t mean that your business will succeed. You will still experience losses. You should only quit your job when your business can sustain you.
AJ: We were also not afraid to experience business losses. We accepted the fact that it’s part of the game, but as much as possible we try not to.
Also read: 4 things to consider before pursuing your business full-time
MJ: Your first loss, it hurts you until you get used to it and you just laugh about it. But it should not happen anymore. If it happens again, it’s your fault. Every time we have business losses, we always analyze it. We first look and understand the root cause, why it happened, and we come up with solutions. We are solution-based because that was our nature of work in the corporate world earlier.
Disclaimer: This article is based solely on the inputs shared by the featured members. GlobalLinker does not necessarily endorse the views, opinions & facts stated by the members.
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