Securing a sweet spot in the foodie’s world

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By Mark Louis F. FerrolinoSpecial Features Writer

From a small stall, occupying only 25 square meters (sq.m.) in a food park located along Maginhawa Street in Quezon City, The Lost Bread has grown into a popular trendy hangout with three branches in Metro Manila. The French toast and milkshake specialty restaurant has mastered the craft of creativity, which has led the once tiny venture to greater heights.

The Lost Bread first gained popularity when its unique and delectable milkshakes with cotton candy and swirly marshmallow lollipops on top spread on social media.

These crowd-pleasing and ‘instagrammable’ creamy mixtures won the appetite of many foodies even during the fame of milk teas in 2015 or the year it started. By being consistent with the quality of products and services, up to ensuring a perfect place to enjoy these smoothies, The Lost Bread has established a stable market.

The best words that can fit this venture’s journey would come from a famous line of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien’s poem that “Not all those who wander are lost”.

The people behind the creative wits of this restaurant are Patricia Maria Marabut and Emil Nicholas Ongchuan, who are both manufacturing engineering graduates. These proprietors don’t have any background in running a business, but these didn’t restrict them to go beyond their borders and find their spot in the food and beverage industry.

Here are the secrets on how these entrepreneurs got this far.

Starting the business from scratch. Ms. Marabut and Mr. Ongchuan shared in an interview with BusinessWorld that they started The Lost Bread from a capital they borrowed from their parents. “From nothing, we tried and did our best to put up something like this,” Ms. Marabut said. “[We] started with just two staff members plus kaming dalawa. I was making the milkshake and he (Mr. Ongchuan) was at the cashier.”

For Mr. Ongchuan, it’s a good thing to make yourself as the first employee so you can educate yourself about every single details on how the business runs. When it comes to securing permits, he shared that he only searched everything on Google and visited forums to become familiar with the process. “You don’t need a fixer to help you, immerse yourself,” he said, noting that in this way, you won’t be scammed.

Leveling up the game. Nowadays, finding a place in the food and beverage industry is not easy, especially for a start-up brand. But for The Lost Bread, this challenge has become their strength. Since it started, being different has become the foundation of The Lost Bread. “Our idea since the beginning was to make something different. We sticked to this concept of doing something different and original,” Mr. Ongchuan said.

Reaching the market right. In marketing, before a business could effectively deliver a successful campaign, there’s one piece of vital information the business must know — its potential customers. Ms. Marabut said that a certain enterprise must first recognize its identity to be able to reach the market right.

At The Lost Bread, Ms. Marabut shared that their offerings go hand in hand with their interiors — their food and place showcase one identity. She said that they made it to the point that the customers would want to go to their place to experience its totality.

Grabbing opportunities. Opportunities in business are often the beginning of great achievements. Mr. Ongchuan said that when the opportunity of opening a branch in SM Megamall came, though both of them know nothing about mall operations, they took it.

“We don’t know anything about mall operations. We have to learn from scratch,” Mr. Ongchuan said. “Very different at first, but eventually we keep on learning to tap the right market.”

Staying ahead of the game. The Lost Bread is running for three years now and the quality of its products and services remain the same. Whenever they hear negative comments from customers, they try to reach for that customers to learn what things they need to improve on. In addition, to cater to the growing demand of the customers, The Lost Bread keep on innovating new products and coming up with better promos to offer. Through these, The Lost Bread never gets lost — it remains on top of its game.