Despite allowing dine-in, restaurants in the country are still bleeding. Restaurateurs are struggling to stay afloat at this time since rentals are very high, operating hours are shorter, coupled with a 30- to 50-percent seating capacity.
Happy Ongpauco-Tiu, who owns a total of 15 restaurants in Manila, Tagaytay, Baguio, Boracay and Palawan, had to temporarily close some of them.
“Only Pamana Makati; Pamana and Tsokolateria in Baguio and Tagaytay, and Le Chon at The Grid are open,” shares Happy. “It’s pretty challenging for me as only 30 percent of my employes are back to work. And I’m trying to find all avenues to slowly give their jobs back.”
“I prayed and asked the Lord to enlighten me with ideas,” enthuses the hardworking entrepreneur.
Well, He did provide Happy not only with one but two new business ventures — contactless Private Dining and My Happy Home — “dedicated to provide jobs for my people.”
“Ideas are a dime a dozen,” notes Happy. “How to make it work depends on you.”
Pre-COVID days, Happy ventured into bespoke catering. Called Private Dining by Happy Concept Group, she created elegant tablescapes to complement her customized menus.
However, this private dining concept was put on hold when the lockdown was imposed. That’s when Happy came up with the idea of contactless catering.
Here’s how it works. When you book Private Dining by Happy Concept Group, Happy will work with you on a theme, menu and budget.
“We’ll provide clients with the food in chafing dishes, plates and tablescapes,” notes Happy.
Photos and videos on how to arrange the buffet table are also provided so you can replicate Happy’s elegant dining style.
“The contactless catering concept was well accepted by our clients and is helping us survive this crisis,” she shares. “I think I’m the only caterer who does this.”
Happy’s ready-to-cook frozen food business, Mom Made, which she established in 2018, also helps tide them over since ready-to-cook frozen food items are indemand these days.
“Still, they’re not enough to pay for rent and overhead,” laments Happy. “I have to find ways to take responsibility for my team. My end goal is to provide jobs and support my loyal staff.”
And so My Happy Home was born. My Happy Home is Happy Ongpauco-Tiu’s online business offering curated sets of dinnerware and serveware for everyone to choose from and keep. To get a glipmse of her collection, simply follow @my_happyhomeph on IG.
“Most of you know how I love beautiful plates and table accessories. That’s the reason why I came up with my Bespoke Private Dining business years back,” says the lady who owns a plate library.
Since everyone is mostly at home and cooking these days, Happy thought of sharing with homemakers her simple joys by curating beautiful tablescapes for them that they can buy and own.
Those who love to entertain at home can now look forward to better days with pretty tablescapes in mind courtesy of @myhappyplaceph.
I personally love the China Doll collection with matching placecards.
“They’re custom-made,” Happy says. “It takes 10 days to make abroad and two weeks to ship here in Manila. As for the place cards, I asked my friend to make them for me as no one sells matching plates and place cards here yet.”
Though the items offered @my_happyhomeph aren’t part of Happy’s personal plate collection, each piece has been Happy-approved!
“Through years of collecting plates, I’ve met different suppliers from around the world. Of course, I also offer pieces made by our own artisans from different provinces,” shares Happy. “Before, I would purchase plates to add to my collection. Now, I take pride in helping other homemakers curate tableware sets for them.”
Happy admits that sometimes she had to think twice before putting the items up for sale.
“They’re so pretty I want to keep all of them,” she says with a hearty laugh. “But I have to stop myself. It takes a whole lot of will power though.”
Barely a month since it opened, @my_happyhomeph is making brisk business.
“Most of the items were sold out! Due to the demand, I’m able to employ more staff,” notes Happy.
Happy’s waiters are now employed as riders delivering plates, her cooks are helping her run the warehouse, while her former secretaries and managers are back to take care of logistics and customer relations..
“Online business is a whole new world to me. It may be a backyard business but I’m grateful for the support of my clients as every plate and tablescape accessories they buy would not only bring them joy, but hellp provide for my staff and their families as well,”
Lovers of blue and white, tropical foliage, Filipiniana, modern black and white, and orientalia rejoice! My Happy Home has all these in store, plus more!
“My Happy Home does not only stop at plates and tablescapes. We also carry a kitchen line, too, and soon furniture! We’ll offer anything and everything to make a happy home,” Happy enthuses.
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Check out these fab finds @my_happyhomeph on IG.