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Expert’s food for thought

BUSINESS coach and marketing consultant Adolf Aran Jr.

“The year 2020 is like a nightmare for all of us. We want to wake up from it. But I think, in the process, we cannot just forget its learning. We need to make sure that we learn things out of it,” business coach and marketing consultant Adolf Aran Jr. said at his recent guesting on Daily Tribune’s “Pairfect” Facebook Live show which streams Wednesdays at 2 p.m.).

“We’d like to be able to do things digitally because it’s going to be safe and faster. Even if we try to do that, we want to be able to make sure that our online selling is done in a way wherein we are able to capture efficiently, effectively the customers’ needs. If it doesn’t work, you need to be able to personalize our service and that’s where a lot of training and retraining is needed,” Aran added.

Investing in people, the true backbone of the service-driven dining industry, is Aran’s advocacy through Courage Asia Management Consulting of which he’s the founder and CEO. Here, he puts on his hat as food business coach and adviser for brands such as Mama Lou’s Italian Kitchen, Wolfgang Steakhouse, Mother Spice Food Group, Red Crab Food Group, SYSY International and Unilever Philippines, to name a few.

He is an honorary member of the Association of Hospitality Educators and Practitioners of the Philippines (AHEPP), a member of the Rotary Club of Pasig, a founding member of the Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement and a founding member of Resto PH, a consortium of restaurant owners and operators in the Philippines formed to support each other amid a pandemic.

One could say that his company’s event arm, Dine Philippines, is on an education mission as well, since the CEO brings the country’s best practitioners, top chefs, food historians and other successful purveyors to share their knowledge and best practices in a TED-talks style forum. So far, Dine Philippines has spread its gospel of pride in the Filipino and in Philippine cuisine in over 50 cities nationwide.

On business tips for thriving in a pandemic, in which local cuisine competes in the global arena, and what 2021 may look like for the food and beverage community, here’s an excerpt of that fruitful interview with Aran.

Daily Tribune (DT): How have you been during the pandemic?

Adolf Aran Jr. (AAJr.): We survived bulkan, lindol, pandemya and bagyo and I think that sums up our 2020. Four major calamities. We’ve been very busy trying to cope with that. On the good side, we’re trying to help as much as possible. We’ve been providing consultancy to food businesses on a pro bono basis. We were able to create a webinar for trainers and distributors who are into online selling. We were able to promote one culinary competition despite the fact that it’s only virtual.

DT: How did you navigate the new normal? Did your business stop during the quarantine or you just went on despite the circumstances?

AAJr.: There has been nothing normal in the past nine months. All of us saw and felt the impact of this virus. Therefore, we’re all trying to navigate through a very personalized business and transform it into something very impersonal with the use of technology. There’s a lot of pivoting that happened in the past nine months and I’ve seen that in our restaurants as well. Pivot is a popular buzzword nowadays as we try to cope with the pandemic. There’s a lot of changes that people (go through). Food businesses try to experiment new business models and try to create new products at the same time.

DT: And, add to that, the new health protocols like contact tracing, disinfection, to ensure the staff, team, consumers, clients are all safe and well when they get to enjoy.

AAJr.: Three months after the quarantine happened, we were computing that it would take roughly around P6,000 to P7,000 per location, a typical 100-square-meter space for you to be able to invest on all these disinfectants and face shields, etc. More than that, it’s really trying to hold on to your regular operating expenses even if your revenues are down because that’s the most important part — how do you balance income considering that expenses are regularly taking place?

DRIVEN Customer Service seminar participants from The Carmen Hotel, Biggs Robinsons Place Naga, Knopper Pharmacy, Ateneo, Jack’s Blue Plate and Olivan Home Depot.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF FB.COM/DINEPHILIPPINES

DT: As a business coach, what would be your top three advice for food entrepreneurs and aspiring chefs who may want to promote local food and succeed?

AAJr.: Let me just summarize into three what advice I have given so far especially to young entrepreneurs and young chefs. I think it can be summarized into three Ms.

Number one is Money. I think we should watch our cash flow. From the business perspective, a good business cannot survive if you only have two to three months for you to be able to extend and I think we’ve seen that. You need to have at least six to 12 months to be able to sustain the business, that’s why cash flow is king.

The second M is Manpower. This is time wherein you start looking into your human resources. Some people will go, some people will stay and it’s important for business owners to hold on to your good people. By holding on to them, you know that these are the people who will be able to allow you to survive and eventually thrive in the future.

The third M is Mentor. During these very critical times, we need to find good mentors that we can listen to. It’s not enough that we can listen to our gut or our conscience or even our arsenal of ideas. Because we’re young, we have limited information. What we’ll be able to do is to look up to those who have been there. Seek mentors to be able to find ways to generate and bounce off ideas so that you know you’re making the right decision.

Credit belongs to : www.tribune.net.ph



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