Marvin Agustin has raised the bar for restaurateurs everywhere. At 28, the young actor handles seven food businesses to date: he's sole owner of Ricecapades and a Makati branch of Mister Donut; he's an investor in Oysterboy; and, with friends Ricky Laudico, Raymund Magdaluyong, and Nikki Nicolas, he shares ownership of Smairu, Cafe Ten Titas, JohnandYoko, and SumoSam.
Quite an accomplishment for someone who started out as a Shakey's mascot and a Tia Maria's waiter! How did he do it? Sheer hard work and positive thinking, he says: "Lahat ng bagay, mahirap—that's what I realized. Pero if you're really very passionate in that field or with that business, mag-e-enjoy ka kahit mahirap, e. It would be a challenge for you."
In 1999, Marvin received a franchise outlet of Mister Donut as part of his endorsement deal. That first enterprise became the springboard of other business ideas, one of the latest being the Japanese-American restaurant SumoSam.
Marvin and friends opened SumoSam's flagship store at the Shangri-La Plaza in Mandaluyong in 2005. Last year, they branched out to Power Plant Mall in Makati. The restaurant is popular for its Japanese dishes with a western twist. Just check out the Japanese carbonara, the Wagyu (high-quality marbled beef) steaks, and a variety of specialty sushi.
The SumoSam owners go "food-tripping" to develop their menu, Marvin says: "We always go out of the country. Paikot-ikot kami, kain lang kami nang kain. Nakikita namin kung paano na 'yong execution ng iba't ibang bansa sa Japanese cuisine."
To cement his restaurateur title, Marvin studied Asian culinary arts at the International School for Culinary Arts and Hotel Management, in Quezon City. He's also taking up a management studies diploma course at the Somerset International Business School, in Pasig City.