Business Mentor: Overseas-inspired café shares its journey

Armando Bartolome

Posted at Jul 10 2021 10:15 AM

Business Mentor: Overseas-inspired café shares its journey 1

The year 2020 may have left the restaurant industry around the globe devastated, but entrepreneurs Cris & Chie Miranda, and their daughter Rian Miranda, have kept their passion brewing.

In the mid-1980s, Cris flew to the Middle East with his personal goals and dreams of a better life for his family. With a heavy heart, he left Chie and their two young children in Manila because it wasn’t possible for him to bring them at the time. Just like most responsible family-oriented men who endeavor to provide the best life for his wife and children, Cris braved challenges that included working for a company that abuses staff compensation, and not seeing his family for 2 years. 

He was able to move to a better company and 3 years later he was able to bring Chie and their two children to reside in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia post-Gulf War.

They say a good wife brings stability to a man’s life, and Chie has deeply supported Cris as they worked together as a team in fulfilling their shared aspirations for their family. Since jobs for women in Saudi Arabia in the early 1990s were limited to teaching, administrative, and nursing, Chie started working as a Music teacher at international schools initially. 

Cris and Chie were residents of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for over three decades, where they also raised their children from their early childhood. 

In 2016, Cris received recognition from Illustrado Magazine as among the 100 Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf, as well as a multiple Exemplary Awardee for being an outstanding leader in Finance in Saudi Arabia’s award-winning naval company that is part of championing the Kingdom’s strategic transformation. 

Chie retired as an Administrative Manager from King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre, Saudi Arabia’s highly specialized medical institution engaged in worldwide research and clinical studies. 

Rian has a strong background in multi-cultural executive administration, culinary arts, information technology, and received international business training in communication and etiquette. She is also a published writer, food stylist and photographer, and provided support to the cosmopolitan business clientele in luxury retail and upscale food & beverage brands. The family is part of the movement in the Gulf region that advocates for the world-class Filipinos in the global diaspora.

The road to entrepreneurship hasn’t been totally smooth for the family, though. KAFF just launched two weeks prior to the COVID-19 outbreak that forced everybody in the world to halt business operations for months and stay at home. 

But the family and their team swiftly adapted their company to the new normal. Sadly, they had to cut-down their manpower, and it took them time again to restructure, secure finances, and acquire team members for the modified KAFF. 

“When we were starting, we all agreed to find the right people,” says Cris. 

“We need team members who understand that this is a venture built with mutual passion and purpose,” Rian added. 

“Everyone in our present team is excited for every milestone we hit, and we have reached this point because of absolute teamwork and commitment from each member of our staff, as well as our advisors. Empathy is deeply important to all of us,” said Chie.

KAFF has changed the game as an international Filipino-owned food & lifestyle business. The Mirandas have won over café-loving enthusiasts in South Luzon with a simple premise: it is more than just a café where everyone would feel nurtured at the same time. The family credits most of their inspiration from their experience living outside the Philippines and their fondness for travel. 

Coffee shops are just as essential as everyone’s hairdressers, and even malls nowadays. No longer are coffee shops a luxury because now they are a social experience, and that is what KAFF embodies. 

Today, the store is exclusively operating at Ayala Malls Solenad in Nuvali, Santa Rosa City of Laguna. It has been featured by the Department of Tourism. 

Customer reviews have described KAFF as "a destination for comfort dining at a reasonable cost that blends in a space that is conducive for studying, meeting, conversations that bridge connections, and even intimate affairs." 

To date, KAFF has not stopped pivoting to provide better offerings to their guests and staff. It seems to have become accustomed to the art of change, and the company is ready for challenges. “The theory of our country’s—and our personal--progressive evolution,” Rian says, “will always be part of our DNA.”