The pandemic has forced many businesses to close down, rendering more people jobless.
Bibi-Waf is an exception. The restaurant just opened its third branch along Kamuning Road, Quezon City (the first two branches are in Cainta, Rizal and Bacoor, Cavite. The new branch, which took over a laundromat business that closed down due to the pandemic, offers a fusion of bibingka and waffle (hence the name Bibi-Waf) recipes for customers along the busy Kamuning business-residential area and nearby places.
Chef JV Romero, CEO 88 Infinite Milestones Food, Inc re-created the classic flavor of Bibingka – complete with cheese toppings and salted egg – and gave it a twist. He used the traditional Galapong rice – a staple of Filipino desserts, created a Bibingka, then popped it into an electric waffle maker.
He came up with such menu items as Luncheon Meat & Cheese, Pizza Waffle, Sausage and Cheese, Bacon and Caramel, Pepperoni & Cheese, Tuna Spread, Ham & Cheese, Heavenly Egg, Cheese Overload, Cream Cheese, Sliced Cheese and Butter.
The Nutella Sweet Waffle with a dash of chocolate is the runaway bestseller.
Bibi-Waf adapted to the pandemic by going online. Every branch has its own Facebook page. Home deliveries via Food Panda catered to work-from-home and stay-at-home customers.
Bibi-Waf partnered with You First Marketing to promote its food items and franchise opportunities. A café type franchise, where Bibi-Waf manages and operates the restaurant, costs P 850,000. A solo franchise, on the other hand, fetches only P450,000. Bibi-Waf can co-manage the business, which is required to give 10 percent of its income to the mother company.
It all started in 2018 when Romero came back from a six-month stint as chef consultant of Manila Sunset, a Filipino restaurant in San Diego, California. He thought of creating something that would please the taste of Filipinos and foreigners in the US. So he combined the Philippine Bibingka with the American waffle.
“Our waffle has no sugar, so it’s safe for diabetics,” says Romero. The sweetness is in the toppings (e.g. caramel drizzle, butter, cream, etc.) Those who want to cut down on sugar can skip the toppings.”
Rice meals include Longganisa, Tankatsu, Burger Steak with plain or turmeric rice and others. Unlimited Chicken and Waffle are also on the menu.
Expansion is the next step. This year’s target is 100 branches all over the country and abroad, including Pasig, Lipa, Batangas, Cebu, Davao and Baguio.
Franchises are being eyed in Beijing, Los Angeles and Tunisia. Mascots will soon greet and mingle with guests.
“International franchisees may open their own franchises,” adds Romero.
That’s pandemic-free Bibi-Waf for you.