eastwind journals, Manila, April 26, 2021

By Bernie V. Lopez,

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Julius was the master chef in a famous five-star restaurant in Makati. All of a sudden, he is out of a job due to the pandemic. Depressed and bored, he is dared by his I.T. son Ernest to put up an online restaurant. He shifts from fine-dining for the can-afford to street food for the cannot-afford. He is in for a big surprise. The restaurant goes viral.

This story is dedicated to the tens of thousands of tiny subdivision- and barangay-based online restaurants nationwide doing home cooking. May your tribe increase and multiply to serve the Filipino during these hard times.

Before the pandemic, Julius fed the elite of the elite, who became addicted to his fine dining. He invented new recipes which thrilled the addicts. It was the fulfillment of his dream to be a master chef and whip up his ‘creative cuisine’, radical dishes that had never existed before.

When the Pandemic descended on Planet Earth, the restaurant closed and Julius lost his job. His boss Mike, the restaurant owner, also went hungry. This time, the master chef could not even feed himself and his own family of six kids. He was in despair and deep depression. His eldest son Ernest, who was an IT expert, had an idea.

ERNEST – Dad, let’s put up an online resto. I will handle the online orders.

JULIUS – I don’t know. This is something new to me. Maybe it won’t work.

ERNEST – Dad, believe me, this will work. No choice. Or we starve to death.

JULIUS – Okay. Make it work, son.

And so Father and Son began to put up an online restaurant.

JULIUS – It’s no good. Very little orders.

ERNEST – Dad, that’s because you are obsessed with fine dining. Remember, our market has changed from can-afford to can’t-afford.

JULIUS – It won’t work, son. There’s little money in that.

ERNEST – Wana bet? Let’s serve cheap food for the can’t afford. Let’s call it ONLINE RESTO PANG-MASA (street-food e-restaurant). Steve Jobs called it ‘Love Marketing’. If you love your customers, they love you back, then you make a pile.

JULIUS – Hmm. It’s risky but let’s try it. We will have less profit but more graces from the Lord.

And so Father and Son embarked on that radical idea, which the Lord blest. Julius stepped down from master chef for the elite to a cook for the lowly. They churned up simple cheap street food, native recipes. They instantly had a huge market.

ERNEST – Dad, your pang-masa (grassroots) street-food cuisine is fantastic. Our best sellers are the pork sisig (pig’s brain), bangus sisig (milk fish version), adidas (grilled chicken feet), and isaw (grilled chicken intestine). Dad, your experiment spicing isaw with bay leaf (laurel) is the best hit.

And so, Father and Son had to hire a kitchen help, as the avalanche of orders came in.

ERNEST – Dad, I have another idea.


ERNEST – Instead of a mark up of 30% profit, let’s make it 10%. And let’s make the servings bigger.

JULIUS – What’s this obsession to earn less? This is a business, not a charity house.

ERNEST – No, No, dad, I tell you, it means we earn more.

So, Father and Son decided to have less income and more people to feed. It worked. The food was so tasty and cheap, the orders increased three-fold. Julius introduced adobong kangkong Chinese-style, another hit and the all-time favorite – chicken inasal. There was less mark-up profit, but the volume of orders tripled, more earnings but more work.

ERNEST – Dad, one more step.

JULIUS – I’m too old for this. What?

ERNEST – Let’s increase our mark up to 20% instead of 10% and use the additional 10% profit to give free food to the poorest of the poor. Let’s give 50% discount to Grab drivers.

JULIUS – Wow. I like that. But you have to hire more people.

So, Father and Son did exactly that. The orders increased ten-fold. Father and Son had to hire three more assistants to handle the volume. The Grab drivers helped spread the news. Online Resto Pang-masa went viral, until they had to refuse additional orders. Julius had an idea.

JULIUS – Hey, Boss Mike, I need a partner. This is getting to be a monster and I can’t handle it alone. 

MIKE – I know. I was just about to call you. I see you’re going viral. How can I help?

JULIUS – Let’s put up another kitchen and hire more men. Your money, my sweat.

MIKE – No, let’s put up two more kitchens, the Makati and Ermita branches of my dead restaurants. I will take care of the capital.

The mustard seed grew rapidly into a mammoth tree.

JULIUS – Son, you said we get “less profits and more graces”.

ERNEST – Yes, I know, I was wrong. More profits and more graces. The Lord gives us back ten-fold.

And so the three musketeers embarked on launching the largest grassroots online restaurant in Metro-Manila ever. Others started copying the idea, as far as Cebu and Davao. The market could not stop growing. The new guys started small, not as big as Ernest, but there were thousands of them. The Grab drivers gave them 20% discount.

To the pandemic food micro-entrepreneurs, learn about Steve Job’s ‘love marketing’ and get rich beyond imagination. Reach for the stars.

Lesson of the story – 1) the more you give from the heart, the more you receive from the Lord; 2) if you light one candle and pass it on, a thousand tiny flames mimic the sunrise; 3) shout on the rooftops your cry of hope to dispel the pandemic despair.

READ MORE INSPIRATIONAL ARTICLES AT — or click “HOME” at top right of page.

By Bernie V. Lopez,

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Blogger – ex-Columnist (Inquirer) – Healing Ministry – ex-Professor (Ateneo U) – Documentary Producer-Director (freelance, ex-ABS-CBN) – ex-Broadcaster (Radio Veritas) – Facebook “Bernie V. Lopez Eastwind” / Pages “Eastwind Journeys and Journals” and “Mary Queen of Peace”.


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