A popular food destination, weekend market Mercato Centrale has completely changed the face of late night dining in the Philippines. Hungry diners and food enthusiasts are treated to a buffet of choices and a wide variety of delicious treats.

Inspired by their one-of-a-kind “multisensory dining experience” at Florence, Italy’s locale Mercato Centrale, couple Rj and Vanessa Ledesma with the help of fellow co-founders Anton and Rache Diaz put up the country’s own version. Six years after its establishment, Mercato Centrale now has 50 vendors that attracts about 8,000 to 10,000 foot traffic with every night market run.

mercato-centrale
PHOTO CREDIT: Interaksyon

If you’re planning to become a successful food entrepreneur at Mercato Centrale, here are some tips from Rj Ledesma.

1. Having an interesting food concept is a must!

Food vendors at Mercato Centrale don’t just offer delicious food. More than passing Taste Test Tuesday, aspiring Mercato vendors must offer food that is scalable and has a sense of authenticity. These vendors are carefully curated so that their products will complement other offerings in Mercato. Moreover, the food, whether a novelty dish, heirloom dish or a spur-of-creative-moment creation, must have a heart.

2. Supplement your booth’s physical presence with digital media efforts.

While your physical food booth must create a lasting impression on customers, aspiring Mercato vendors also need to put efforts in marketing their store online to have a wider reach of target audience. Moreover, it will also encourage non-Mercato goers to give the weekend market a shot.

3. Get inspired.

According to Ledesma, most food entrepreneurs at Mercato are actually “not intentional entrepreneurs”. Ledesma advised: “Find your great source of irritations, and then turn them into inspiration.” Be mindful of your surroundings, identify pain points and come up with solutions that you can turn into a business opportunity.

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