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Lifestyle Business

Batangas women behind popular Mango Bravo cake share business tips

Jan Milo Severo - Philstar.com
Batangas women behind popular Mango Bravo cake share business tips
Cecille, Carole and Angie Conti, the girls behind the successful Conti’s Bakeshop and Restaurant
Philstar.com/Jan Milo Severo

MANILA, Philippines — Cecille, Carole and Angie Conti, the girls behind the successful Conti’s Bakeshop and Restaurant, gave tips for people who are planning to put up a food business. 

At the brand’s 25th anniversary celebration last week, Angie said that the secret of a successful food business is the love and passion for your craft. 

“You really have to love what you do. It's the passion. My sister here, the passion to create food, passion to serve customers. You really have to love it,” Angie said.  

“There's no reason to complain whatever difficulties we are undergoing. We should always be thankful for all the blessings, (that's) the fact (why) we are being patronized,” she added. 

Angie said that it’s also important to listen to customers' feedback for a better business. 

“Sometimes, mayroon din kaming diperensya pero it's all good we really read complaints so we can rectify. We thank people who are telling us, 'Uy bakit ganto, bakit ganyan.' Thank you for letting us how so we can improve it. Then it turns out nagiging maganda talaga,” she said. 

In the late '90s, the Conti sisters started a humble food business from their garage. They then started to serve neighborhood favorites such as Baked Salmon, Garlic Sotanghon, and Ensaymada in a makeshift kitchen in Paranaque 25 years ago.

It turns out that their love for good food has roots that go much further back. Their father was a public lawyer who frequently invited his colleagues to their home, so the sisters watched their parents entertain family and friends by cooking for them. That's how Carole — the main foodie among the three sisters — became interested in cooking and entertaining at an early age.

Angie, the youngest of three sisters, said it was her Ate Carole who loved trying new food and was already planning to have a food business with her two sisters back then. Carole lived in the United States in the 1990s, during which, she sharpened her cooking and baking skills. She then moved back to the Philippines with a collection of cookware and a few “hard-to-find” ingredients.

Finally, the three sisters opened a business. Carole was the chef, while sisters Cecile and Angie served as the tasters and order-takers. Looking back, all it took were some good recipes, a dream to continue bringing together good food and people, and their innate flair for hospitality to create a menu that satisfied the neighborhood's taste for delightful meals and delicacies. Conti’s is building upon a tradition passed down from the Conti sisters’ parents.

Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, Conti's Bakeshop & Restaurant serves more than 150 delicacies to its guests from 71 stores nationwide. It is poised to expand further, reaching more Filipinos with its homegrown brand of hospitality and culinary excellence.

Baking opportunities for other women

Conti’s Bakeshop and Restaurant founders Cecille Conti Maranon, Carole Conti Sumulong, and Angela Conti Martinez with CEO Joey Garcia joined by Punlaan School representatives.

Thanks to the continued patronage of customers from one of the well-loved FIlipino restaurant chains in the country, the scholars at a vocational culinary arts school for underprivileged young women will soon have a world-class kitchen with state-of-the-art equipment.

Punlaan School, a 42-year-old learning institution, received a whole range of state-of-the-art baking kitchen equipment as part of Conti’s Bakeshop and Restaurant’s donation for the school’s new seven-storey building in San Juan. 

The donation includes ventilation and electricals for the baking kitchen that will be named after the well-loved 25-year-old homegrown food brand founded and owned by the Conti sisters of Batangas. When it opens in January next year, the new Punlaan school baking kitchen will be able to accommodate as many as 250 students at a time, a big boost from the 100 capacities of the current kitchen. 

“We are very fortunate and grateful for the all-out support of Conti’s for this project, which is the biggest initiative in Punlaan’s history,” noted school director Kai Nabatar. “This expansion will increase the number of beneficiaries of our scholarships and greatly improve the quality of our students.”

Conti’s has been a Punlaan benefactor for more than 20 years now. It started in the ‘90s with financial donations for the scholarships of several students. The partnership has evolved through the years and now includes a training program at the Conti’s commissary lasting seven months. To date, Conti’s has absorbed close to 100 Punlaan graduates as employees, who are now able to help provide for their families. 

“As Conti’s grew, the partnership with Punlaan also grew,” Nabatar said. “We have grown together.”

Conti’s president and Chief Executive Officer, Joey Garcia, said that education, women empowerment, and providing opportunities to the underprivileged are some of the core values of the Conti sisters that found a perfect match in Punlaan. He notes that the equipment that Conti’s has donated to the school are the same kind of state-of-the-art equipment used in Conti’s own commissary to produce all of the brand’s high-quality cakes and pastries. 

“We are very glad to take the partnership even further with this latest development. We hope that the new baking kitchen will help the young women of Punlaan become excellent professionals when they finish their studies and move into the workforce in the culinary and hospitality industries.”

This is one of the ways Conti’s brings delight beyond the dining table: empowered by its customers, it enables deserving young women to pursue their dreams of providing a better life to their families. 

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