Ma turns mac ‘n cheese stall into growing family business
Joan Zanoria has spent all her professional life in the corporate world; and even when she was younger, she never thought of herself as an entrepreneurial person.
It wasn’t until 2015 that the 38-year-old hotel manager discovered the wonders of venturing into her own business, especially one which involves her two children.
“We started joining bazaars in August 2015. It has been two years since we started as a mac ‘n cheese stall, which was established together with my kids,” she told Cebu Daily News.
Earlier in the same year, Zanoria and her two children, 16-year-old Joaquin and eight-year-old Iya, fell in love with the mac ‘n cheese that a stall in a Mandaue City mall they would visit every weekend was selling.
This had been the inspiration for their humble business called Macology 101, the name referring to the “study of mac ‘n cheese or macaroni and cheese.”
When a friend of hers asked if she would be interested to sign up for her first bazaar two years ago, she said yes, but admitted to not having any product yet.
“I told her I did not have any products yet, but there is one item that I and my kids really like and that is mac ‘n cheese,” she said.
It was only days before the bazaar opened that Zanoria, with the help of her two kids, was able to come up with the “perfect” mac ‘n cheese recipe.
A graduate of hotel and restaurant management, Zanoria said her background in food helped her as she prepared for her venture.
While her husband Jesse has been running a bakery business with outlets in Mandaue City and Mactan Island since 2001, Zanoria said Macology 101 is what she would call her first venture into entrepreneurship.
With an initial capital of P3,500, Zanoria was able to set up a stall at the Banilad Town Centre for the once-a-week bazaar her friend invited her to join.
“On our very first day, we already got back our investments. That was the time we considered this was a good product. It was pretty much something new, although it was copied and only enhanced,” Zanoria said.
The stall was first called “Little Chef” to highlight how her two children are involved, but since it was a very common name, Zanoria eventually changed it to what the business is known today.
Following that overwhelming success, Zanoria decided to sell her product at the bazaar for another week.
Macaroni and cheese, a famous comfort food in the US, was rarely eaten as a main dish, but for Macology 101, this was not the case.
“For us, we made it as a full meal,” she said, adding that the product has evolved from the traditional mac ‘n cheese recipe to different variations including bacon mushroom melt, four-cheese, samurai (Japanese mayonnaise with wasabi), buffalo chicken, and bacon mushroom truffle, among others.
Since then, Macology 101 has participated in over 20 events, which include bazaars, school fairs, and concerts, and now employs nine workers to help out in operations.
In September 2015, Zanoria opened a stall at the famous Sugbo Mercado at Cebu IT Park while this year, she opened two more stalls at Sugbo Mercado at the South Road Properties in January as well as Fiesta Minore near the Cebu Business Park last April.
To date, Zanoria said her total investments for the business was still around P30,000.
While there had been a huge appetite for the product at the onset, Zanoria said the demand seemed to wane after one year, prompting her to come up with new product offerings.
To date, Macology 101 also sells melt-away sandwiches, rainbow-colored cheese-based snacks; drinks in a pouch, refreshing beverages in Ziploc bags with colorful straws; and, just introduced late last year, the salted egg potato chips.
Mac ‘n cheese is sold at P100, sandwiches can be bought at P90, drinks in a pouch are sold at P35, while salted egg potato chips cost P165 per 100 grams.
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