It’s no secret that I have always been a fan of Buku-Buku Kafe since my living-in-Las-Piñas days: the food, the interiors, and the friendly vibe. But recently, my team and I have come to admire these SOUTHIEpreneurs even more for their resilience and tenacity throughout this pandemic, and especially for their newfound candor on social media.
It’s undeniable that they serve excellent food, but we also saw how important their knack for running their business plays in their success. This prompted us to reach out to Jess; their manager, partner, and communications person; to sit down and talk about Buku-Buku, so we can share their story and these 5 lessons which many SOUTHIEpreneurs can draw encouragement and inspiration from during these difficult times.
5. Setbacks happen and will keep happening; the quicker you accept this and adapt, the better your chances for survival and success will be.
Like so many others, the past year has been extra tough for Jess and her family to keep their business afloat. They had to shut down operations for 3 months after the first lockdown announcement was made. They spent this time working on their online platforms, as growing safety concerns pushed IATF to impose that dine-in transactions be temporarily suspended. This allowed them to strengthen their digital operations through their socials and website (www.bukubukukafe.com), plus it opened up opportunities for them to reach customers they wouldn’t normally reach pre-pandemic, such as those residing outside Las Pinas and even beyond the South!
4. It’s okay to slow down and restart small.
One of the hardest decisions they ever had to make for Buku-Buku was closing down their branch in Dasmariñas, Cavite, and moving all operations to their SM Southmall Las Piñas branch. It was sad because, although they wanted to keep all their employees in the company, their Dasma people decided it was better to stay in Cavite for work, especially with the border restrictions and transportation constraints. Despite this tough transition, it helped them cut down costs, streamline their operations, and recalibrate the direction for their business, like offering more options for cashless transactions and training their people to do CSR via phone or chat.
3. Get deliberate and go the extra mile when it comes to communicating and interacting with your customers these days.
I think this was such an important point Jess made: with our dining experiences being conducted mostly virtually these days, she realized that you have to make that extra effort to make customers feel as if they are still dining in your resto and speaking with you in person in each phone call or chat message you make when they order online. It’s a simple concept, but when you’re transacting almost everything digitally, this helps create that genuine connection and gives a lasting impression on the person on the other end.
Blog by Southie Donna