The COVID-19 pandemic caught the business sector by surprise. Big and small businesses suffered huge losses, thus entrepreneurs had to think of ways to survive amid a global crisis whose end is yet to come.
Anna Marie Wharton, an entrepreneur from Iloilo City notes that the height of the pandemic saw food businesses flourish while those who failed to adapt to the new reality eventually closed shop.
Wharton, the owner of the cake house Mrs. Wharton London Bakes and English Teas and Taiwanese street food Lazy Susan, said that when we stick to the old system, we fail to see other ways that would make a business profitable. She stressed that an entrepreneur has to learn to accept the situation and plan the next step.
“In business, it is not all about gain. Sometimes, you lose. But then, one also learns a lesson, and such wisdom can be applied to one’s next business venture,” she said.
Facing the “now” normal with innovation
A proactive individual like Wharton believes that innovation is the key to surviving any crisis. “Our business shifted to online selling. Then, we added a new brand – Lazy Susan Taiwanese Street Food,” said Wharton.
“An online business has no disruptions, has less risk, has a low operating cost, and does not require a massive workforce,” she explained.
Since it opened in January 2021, Lazy Susan only accepts orders for take-out and delivery. Lazy Susan’s dishes are prepared in Wharton’s home kitchen-commissary located at the 4th main street of Alta Tierra Village, Jaro, Iloilo City.
Lazy Susan offers Sichuan Noodles, Lu Rou Fan (Braised Pork with Rice), Barbecue Roast Bao, Sweet and Crispy Duck Bao, Beef Noodle Soup, Black Sesame Meat Bun and Pepper Bun. It also offers the popular Lauriat, which includes all the above mentioned (except beef noodles and meat bun). At times, these offerings are on promo such as Buy One Take One, Discounts, or Add-Ons; that is why fans make it a point to follow Lazy Susan’s page to receive timely updates of their promos.
The food is reasonably priced, delicious, and well-packaged. Food delivery is quick as well.
Lazy Susan’s kitchen has a homey vibe replete with pink, blue, and earth tones. “We’d like our brand to speak of excitement and flavors, thus the pop of colors,” Wharton shared.
The colors represent the vibrancy and youth of the millennials. Although Lazy Susan targets people of all ages and lifestyles, millennials comprise a big chunk of its customers.
Millennials prefer to enjoy a variety of flavors through fast-casual dining (take-out/delivery) amid their busy schedules. Fortunately, Lazy Susan and Mrs. Wharton share the same commissary allowing for more food choices from the two outlets and savings on delivery fees.
“We have plans in the future to offer dine-in. We are just waiting for the right timing,” Wharton shared.
These are some of the ways Wharton has thought of for her food businesses to thrive during the pandemic.
No one can predict when the crisis will end. “Since no one can guarantee tomorrow, an entrepreneur should be ready for any disruption. My fighting stance will always be: Let us get it over and done with,” Wharton concluded.