If you’ve ever been in Manila especially around the University Belt, you’ll notice that canteens have sprouted like mushrooms. They are all over the place. All of them sell so-so meals and some aren’t even clean. However, one canteen that stands out is Lopez Canteen.
The Canteen’s Story
Lopez Canteen is pioneered by Teodora “Doring” Lopez-Bernardo also known as “Mommy Lopez”. Equipped with knowledge in food selling, she gave birth to her fabled canteen in 1960 as a business minded 18 year-old. According to her, she opened her first branch by purchasing a commercial space for Php 2000. It may sound cheap but Php 2000 during the 60s is no joke. Mommy Lopez wasn’t rich that time. So in order to buy that commercial space, she pawned some of her properties.
But as time goes by, her business grew and she reclaimed her properties. Also, she installed other branches to expand her business. And in 1984, she opened her most popular branch, the one in Padre Noval St. near University of Santo Tomas. Now, she’s one of the most successful canteen owners in the city.
Every successful person has gone through challenges in their life. Years ago, illnesses that are caused by dirty food plagued Manila. Even though Lopez Canteen is approved by sanitation experts, people refused to eat there because they thought they’ll get sick. As a result, Mommy Lopez’s sales went down. But she didn’t lose hope. Her patience combined with proper management made the canteen rise again.
Another challenge in Mommy Lopez’s life is when she was diagnosed with cancer in 2010. It was a tough time for Mommy Lopez but she never lost faith. Her devotion became stronger because she never stopped praying. Luckily her prayers were answered. Her canteen’s sales skyrocketed and she used her income to survive cancer.
For more than 50 years, Lopez Canteen has never failed to serve high-quality food. All of their food tastes good but they are best known for their Palabok Special. In fact, it’s one of the most delicious palaboks in the city. Aside from their mouth-watering palabok, their other best sellers are the student combo meals. These meals consist of a viand, one cup of rice, veggies, soda and free soup. They also serve tempting snacks such as arroz caldo, spaghetti and chicken mami.
In terms of customer service, they are beyond world-class. All employees have pleasing personalities. They serve fast and they are always in a good mood. Also, they always make sure that every area of the canteen is spotless. But the unique thing about them is they will not treat you as a customer. Instead, they will treat you as a friend.
Even the owner, Mommy Lopez, treats her customers like her family. She will sit with you and you can talk to her about your problems. And when the streets in Manila got flooded due to typhoons, she will shelter you until the weather calms.
According to Mommy Lopez, the secret to success in a canteen business is to treat your customers well because they will always return the favor. “Sometimes I give my customers free food if they really don’t have money” she said. And when they are angry, she pacifies them by letting them eat for free.
In terms of price, it’s quite cheap for the quality of their food. That’s another reason why they are so appealing to the public. In fact, their popularity has reached the TV screens as well as the internet because they are featured in ABS CBN, TV 5 and in several blogs. To learn more, check out Lopez Canteen, visit www.lopezcanteen.com. Visit their fan page as well, http://ow.ly/AtBHJ.
#cbsme #itPhils #JLofied.
Photo Credits: www.lopezcanteen.com