MANILA, Philippines – The man who is now dubbed as the “Father of Litson Manok” had his share of disappointments when he first started out.
But if Leonardo “Sandy” Javier Jr., the owner and CEO of Andok’s Corporation, allowed disappointments to overcome his passion, there wouldn’t be 300 Andok’s stores across the country today.
Javier was at the forefront when the “litson manok” (roasted chicken) craze in the Philippines began more than 20 years ago.
Back then, Javier said he did not have the capital to start a business and he was forced to borrow 12 chickens from his mother’s friend to sell.
As luck would have it, Javier only sold two chickens.
However, the aspiring entrepreneur did not stop there.
Set your target
Unlike other entrepreneurs who had the capital to put up their own business, Javier struggled financially to jumpstart his litson manok stall.
But this struggle, Javier shared, is what inspired him to strive harder.
“Ang sikreto talaga diyan ay kung saan ka nanggaling, sa kahirapan. You have to get out of the difficulty in life kaya kailangan you have to set your target. Kailangan labanan mo ‘yung kahirapan,” he told dzMM on Thursday.
Find your passion
Javier said he experimented with the ingredients to capture what we know today as the trademark Andok’s taste.
From the 12 chickens he started with, Javier’s small stall along West Avenue in Quezon City boosted its daily inventory to 80 chickens.
“You will start evolving. Magkakaroon ka ng passion. Hindi ka pwedeng magsayang ng oras at kapag ikaw ay nagkamali, tayo ay tao lang nagkakamali, pero you just have to learn from your mistakes and keep going,” he said.
Determined and passionate, Javier continued to grow Andok's, with its menu expanding to include pork chop, sinigang, fried chicken, Bicol express and desserts.
|Litson manok, the signature item of Andok's. Photo from Andok's website
The success of Andok’s is hinged on the drive of Javier to pursue his dreams of running a restaurant business.
But Javier said drive alone will not be enough if you don’t act on it.
“Sa amin, bawal ang mamaya, bawal ang bukas. If you think of doing something and you think it will contribute to being the best, ituloy mo na kaagad,” he said.
From a corner stall in Quezon City, Andok’s branched out to the provinces, opening at least 10 stores in the Visayas in just two years.
“Maraming tao na may mga magagandang ideas, ang problema hindi nila ginagawa. Kapag inumpishan mo, tapusin mo,” said Javier.
Andok’s became popular not only because of its distinct Filipino taste, but also because of its affordable menu.
One of its more popular products, the Dokito Frito (fried chicken), costs less than P50.
Customers come in droves to Andok’s because of its practicality, an ethos followed by the brand’s owner himself.
“Huwag sobra sa iyong kikitain ang iyong gagastusin. Huwag mo gagastusin ang hindi mo makikita,” Javier said.
Share your blessings
With the success of Andok’s, Javier does not forget to look back on his roots.
Now the mayor of Javier town in Leyte, he said he has made it a point to share his blessings to the less-fortunate.
“If you share your blessings, more blessings will come. Kailangan tulungan mo din ‘yung kapwa mo,” he said.
Javier believes that the success he has received in his business has a deeper purpose than just earning a good living.
“Noong nag-umpisa ako talagang mahirap eh at masarap ang pakiramdam ng matulungan. I know how it feels,“ he said.
“Pag nanggaling ka sa wala, that will inspire you to move on. Nothing deserves better applause kung hindi ‘yung taong natupad ‘yung gusto niyang gawin sa buhay,” he added.