As early as the 1970s, the country had been enjoying a gamut of foreign pizza brands franchised locally. Cebu-based couple Bernard and Frances Therese Palang, undeterred and even inspired, redefined the famous bread dough by offering it in huge sizes and in new blends.
[related|post]The tandem’s business concept gave birth to Belle and Tia Pizza Company Inc., under which the Calda Pizza brand was formed. Borrowed from the Italian phrase for “hot pizza,” Calda Pizza is known for preparing orders right in front of customers.
With a start-up capital of P400,000, the novelty convenience store and pizza parlor opened in January 2008 in Lahug, Cebu City. A year later, the company ventured into Manila and set up an outlet in Quezon City and another in Mandaluyong City.
The Palang couple admits they lacked professional culinary knowledge at first, but shared a common desire to enter the food business. This is despite having their respective endeavors before putting up a pizza parlor—Frances headed a chemical repacking business while Bernard worked in the family-owned furniture trade.
To date, Calda Pizza operates 34 company-owned and franchised outlets nationwide, and has become a favorite among barkadas, families, and practically any large group of pizza lovers. Pizzas come in five sizes—11 inches, 16 inches, 20 inches, 30 inches, and 36 inches in diameter.
Their success prompted the couple to leave their respective careers to pursue the full-time management of the growing pizza chain. Currently, Frances takes care of the administration and the commissary. Bernard, on the other hand, is in charge of developing branches, as well as marketing, franchising, expansion, and the daily operations of the company-owned outlets. “In the end, it boiled down to choosing something we both believed in passionately,” he says.