Bea Alonzo can relate to the worries of many business owners during the pandemic.
The actress and her business partners opened her first branch of Dean and Deluca cafe in November 2019, just four months before the coronavirus pandemic hit the Philippines and put the country on lockdown.
In an exclusive interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) last Thursday, February 11, 2021, the 33-year-old ABS-CBN actress revealed they had bigger plans for their cafe business, but they put these plans on hold because of the pandemic.
"Siyempre nung una heartbreaking iyan kasi hindi lang iyan ang ibubukas namin. Marami pa iyan but then nga, the pandemic happened.
"Nung umpisa kasi, November kami nag-soft opening, it was doing so well. Laging may pila sa labas ng Dean and Deluca.
"And then siyempre, nag-lockdown 'tapos naapektuhan kami.
"Dahil ano lang kami, franchise lang kami, mas malakas sa amin kung magda-dine in kesa delivery po, di ba? Siyempre may food cost iyan."
When the quarantine protocols were loosened, Bea's cafe also adjusted its operations and started doing pick-ups and deliveries.
But there was also a time when Bea thought their business might not survive.
"Nung time na iyon, sa totoo lang, naano ako, nalungkot ako.
"Akala ko ito na iyong last time o baka magsara kami kasi sunud-sunod iyong mga restaurants na nagsasara.
"But thank God, ngayon parang bumabalik na siya. May pila na ulit sa labas ng Dean & Deluca."
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One of the things that really helped her business get back on track was its location. Bea's cafe is located at Scout Rallos St. corner Scout Tuazon St. in Tomas Morato, Quezon City.
Bea admitted that she initially thought their location would be the reason why their business won't work. But it's actually the one people preferred for the "new normal."
She said, "Iyong location kasi namin, at first dun kami kinakabahan kasi wala kami sa mall 'tapos medyo tago iyong place namin.
"At first, iyon iyong akala namin magiging dahilan bakit hindi siya magwo-work, ganyan.
"We were skeptical about the place. But one of our partners kasi, siya iyong owner ng building so we opted to just go there.
"And then, ang nangyari, naging blessing pa pala na wala kami sa loob ng mall.
"Because now, people are looking for a place where hindi siya masyado daanan ng maraming tao, iyong sasadyain mo.
"So now, iyong akala naming hindi magpapa-work sa business, actually became a blessing pa to us ngayong nagkaroon ng pandemic."
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Now, Bea said she and her business partners are planning to grow their cafe business.
Without revealing too much, Bea said, "And we’re actually, hindi ko na lang muna ishe-share, pero may future plans kami sa business. We might expand so I’ll announced that in the future, but there are plans."