Kenley Filarca, owner and manager of Kusina de Kenyong, conducted an interview May 27, with VoicePoints Content Manager Paul Michael Camania Jaramillo that covered a wide range of topics — his goals, plans, and business management.
Why did you start the business and what motivated you?
We are not well off. I am just an ordinary bank employee before starting up Kusina de Kenyong. The main reason why I put up the business is to have an additional source of income for me to help my family. My salary alone is not enough to help them in their financial needs. Being inspired with the situation that we have, having my passion in cooking and possessing the determination of a brave dreamer, there KDK was conceived.
Did you have any business background before starting up?
My parents had different business ventures. Through their experiences, I was able to learn something about business.
Did you face any challenges in mobilizing you capital?
Capital was really a big problem and will always be one. During the first month of the business, I was so afraid of the financial performance of the business because I have poured out all the funds I have. Thank God, we were breakeven then. In the continuous operation of the business, KDK was able to sustain its liquidity. I said “will always be” because everyday is a challenge for KDK to survive in the food industry because of numerous competitors. Everyday is a risk. Everyday is a challenge.
Were there any problems in getting employees to work with you?
My KDK Team is composed of some people I have known even before KDK was conceived so it was not that hard for me.
What were the major challenges that you faced in the process of starting up your business?
As I have said, everyday is a risk, everyday is a challenge to survive. Since Kusina de Kenyong was not known yet before, we had hard times of promoting it. As a helpful tool, I used social media to create awareness of KDK’s existence. While the operation goes on, competitors improve their products and even create better products. Getting a share of their existing customers was a bit hard. Especially so that they are in the business for years and that KDK is a new comer. Those were the challenges that we had to face then. When we launched the Biggest Burger and Smallest Burger in the Philippines, someone claimed that they are the first to produce or they have conceptualized it first than us. It was not that hard to defend KDK from those accusations. Thank you to ABS-CBN, ANC and GMA News Team that they have featured the burgers on their news programs, local and national.
What characteristics you possess that you consider to have contributed to your business success?
I am ambitious. I really am. Because of being such, I took the risks and I am still taking the risks, I showed bravery and I am still showing it to face the daily challenges that the business faces. I can not say that Kusina de Kenyong is already successful. We have to go farther than what we have gone to say so. But I am thankful to the Lord for whatever Kusina de Kenyong has achieved. From a short period of time, I am blessed, we are blessed.
What products and services do you offer?
Kusina de Kenyong is a restaurant by nature, offers variety of coffee mixes and a bar at night. Aside from the burgers that we offer, we also have Ilocano and some other Filipino dishes. Recently, we have conceptualized “Banga-Banga” (dishes in clay pots) to showcase old Ilocano tradition of cooking and food presentation. Aside from these, we now accept catering services.
What are your future plans in relation to this business?
To grow and to grow and to grow. This is what I dream for Kusina de Kenyong. We will continue giving new products and services that will truly satisfy everyone’s cravings. Expect that we will work hard to put up branches, in God’s help.
What do you consider to the strengths of your business in terms of fairing in the market?
As I have promised, Kusina de Kenyong will always give something new. To entice customers’ curiosity, offer them something unsual, something unique. I believe that this is what makes KDK different from others. aside from this, marketing strategies. I always see to it that KDK will stay in the minds of the people. These I believe are KDK’s strength.