AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND -- Tinanghal na isa sa sampung finalists sa kategoryang People’s Choice ng prestihiyosong Westpac Auckland Business Awards 2021 ang Hapunan Filipino Cuisine sa Auckland, New Zealand. Ang Westpac Business Awards ay taun-taong iginagawad ng Auckland Business Chamber bilang pagkilala sa innovation at creativity ng business sector sa Auckland region: North & West Auckland, South & East Auckland at Central Auckland.
Ang Hapunan Filipino Cuisine ay pag-aari ng Pilipinong si Aldrin John Mendoza Tabora at ng kanyang asawang British na si Laura Grace Caddick. Sinimulan ng mag-asawa taong 2017 ang Hapunan bilang isang food truck na nag-o-offer ng classic Filipino dishes with a modern twist tulad ng isa sa kanilang best sellers na Adobo Del Diablo.
“...Adobo Del Diablo, which is commonly known in the Philippines as Adobo sa Gata…it was hard in the beginning when we first started in the truck as Filipinos were quite skeptical as most of them weren't familiar with the presentation and look because it was far from the most famous one which was dark in colour as we use coconut milk and turmeric which makes our adobo yellow & we also serve it with coconut rice and Atsara salad. However, for the locals and Kiwis they weren't intimidated and were open and willing to try it…,” sabi ni Aldrin.
Mula sa kanilang food truck business, nito lamang Abril ay nagbukas din ang mag-asawa ng Hapunan Brick & Mortar store sa Main Road, Huapai.
“Aldrin was the only one who was cooking for the last three years & preparing for all our events and markets with the truck but since expanding our team and opening a Brick & Mortar store in April this year, we now have a team of 8 who also cook and prepare Filipino cuisine for the shop and truck,” ani Laura.
At ngayong pandemya, apektado rin ang kanilang negosyo dahil sa pabago-bagong COVID-19 measures na ibinababa ng NZ government depende sa COVID-19 situation sa bansa.
“With constant changes in and out of lockdowns, it has affected us immensely as sometimes we go months without trading but we still have the store and staff to pay even though we have no income coming in so that is a bit stressful,” kuwento ng mag-asawa.
Mula sa full lockdown, paiiralin na ang Alert level 3 sa Auckland simula Martes, September 21, 2021, 11:59 p.m. na tatagal ng dalawang linggo.
For our store, we are able to trade when Alert level 3 as we can just open for takeaway or contactless deliveries but the Food Truck however cannot operate at the moment as to function, it relies heavily on large public events such as markets, festivals, and weddings and because it's spring here in NZ soon to be summer, all our booked events are canceled so at the moment we are losing income on the Food Truck,” pagbabahagi ni Aldrin.
Kaya’t malaki ang pasasalamat nila sa NZ government sa ayudang binibigay nito sa mga emerging business tulad ng Hapunan Filipino restaurant.
“...the government in NZ does provide financial support if you are eligible and for us, we have been lucky to obtain government funding to keep our small business going & our staff supported,” sabi ni Aldrin.
Payo nina Aldrin at Laura sa mga kababayang nagbabalak sumubok sa food truck business o magtayo ng restaurant sa gitna ng pandemya:
“As an entrepreneur, you have to be somewhat creative and show drive in the first place to get your vision and idea out there..our best advice is to never give up on your idea and make it still a reality with adapting with the current times whether that be growing your business virtually online or joining forces to showcase your idea or product.”
Samantala, patuloy ang online voting para sa Westpac Auckland Business Awards 2021 kung saan kabilang ang Hapunan sa sampung North & West finalists sa kategoryang People’s Choice.