They often say that there is no such thing as a small business for someone with big dreams! For the owners of Baguio’s Teahouse Kitchen by Chona, opening their restaurant was more than just a dream come true; it was a success story of starting small and growing a successful business.
Joan Montemayor, the administrator of the Facebook Page Mommy Thoughts, featured an inspiring story about how a mother of 7 children went from selling bilaos to opening a beautiful restaurant in SM City Baguio. During the grand opening of their restaurant, Mommy Joan sat down with Gil Christian Perez, the son of Chona Perez, owners of the restaurant.
According to Gil, their family’s teahouse dates back to 1974, when their grandfather sold siopao and mami. When their grandfather became ill, things took an unfortunate turn, and many competitors emerged. Fast forward to Gil’s mother, Chona, who was hardworking and very resourceful when it came to business. With seven kids to feed and send to school, she worked her way through selling any food she could cook to earn money.
“Yung mama ko kasa-kasama niya kami sa mga bangko, iniikot niya yun cake niya, alamang niya, yung mga niluluto niya,” Gil recalled.
“Siya yung magluluto, maghahatid. Siya yung kukuha ng order, para lang masupport niya kaming mga anak niya,” he added.
Chona finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel when she took over and managed of their Session Road branch in 1996. Even though she was 7 months pregnant, it didn’t stop her from working hard. She cooked and sold bilaos.
According to Gil, her mother came up with the idea of bilaos because most Baguio residents enjoy preparing and presenting grand foods during celebrations. When there are festivities, many Baguio residents like to go all out on their feasts. Thus, bilaos emerged as one of the great ways to elaborately serve food during gatherings.
Gil proudly stated that her mother Chona has always had a good business mindset. Back when she was younger, she would sell polvoron, otap, and others to support her education.
Gil admitted that they went through a lot of struggles and challenges to make Teahouse Kitchen by Chona a reality. Throughout it all, however, they learned to adapt and find ways to update their business. This is great proof of how adaptability is one of the secrets to growing your business quickly. As the late business tycoon John Gokongwei Jr. advised, remaining in your comfort zone would only stunt the growth of your business.
Teahouse Kitchen by Chona now has a huge following of loyal customers and is also attracting more thanks to their updated menu, which includes all of your favourite foods, an elegant restaurant ambiance, and, of course, their hard work. They even received an award from Grab Philippines for being a top seller. From bilao to a beautiful restaurant, this is another success story that can inspire many aspiring entrepreneurs.
You can watch our video feature via our YouTube channel: