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The business side of cooking
Photos by Jun Pinzon
Aug 03, 2012
Cooking as a business may be easy enough to imagine, but culinary entrepreneurship is an altogether different thing. As Anthony Brendan Yu, president of the South Luzon cluster of the Jollibee Franchisees Association, defines it, culinary entrepreneurship is the business side of cooking.
He says that culinary entrepreneurship goes beyond making sumptuous meals or well-cooked food. It actually covers the strategic management, operations management, cost management, and marketing management of the food business.
"Culinary entrepreneurship is often mistaken as a cooking class but it is not only about cooking. It refers to the bigger perspective of entrepreneurship--why go into the business, how to go about it, how to start and sustain the business," says Yu.
The premise, he adds, is for one to make profits and this applies not only to restaurants but also to such businesses as bakeries and confectioneries. "The business is all about managing one's inventories given the shorter shelf life of food items," he says. "It's all about dealing with customers--they may not always be right but they should always be served right."
As to managing costs, he says it does not necessarily mean lowering costs but substantiating where each peso goes and making sure this investment generates returns.
"Cost management is not curtailing expenses but seeing the output for every expense made," he says. "Cost management has its limits--one can't take out the basics simply to reduce costs."
He adds that it is important for an entrepreneur not just to focus on the percentage of growth of sales but also on how fast one's investments in the business can be recovered. For a start-up business of P2 million, he cites as an example, the ideal recovery period should be less than two years, or a rate of return of about 50 percent.
Strategic management, says Yu, takes one beyond just growing one's first store but also into analyzing environments for the second store, the third, the fourth, and so on. "This addresses questions of how much more to put into the business, and of whether one should further expand or consolidate in the future," he explains.
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