Couple’s food business takes flight, soars on chicken wings

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita August 26,2018 - 09:52 PM

The Galan couple, Lara Francheska and Alessandre (above photo), take time out from their food business to bond with their son, Markus Archer. At left, two of Dongki’s Chicken Wings specialties: The Godfather (far left) and The People’s Champ .


Neither of them had any background in cooking.

But Lara Francheska Galan and her husband Alessandre have always had this fascination for cooking shows they would often see on television.

“Watching cooking shows on TV like Masterchef and Hell’s Kitchen sparked our interest in cooking. The business idea only came when we went to Singapore and saw how lucrative and interesting their street food scene was,” Lara said.

Lara, 32, is a graduate of Nursing from Cebu Doctor’s University while Alessandre, 34 graduated with a degree in Fine Arts from the University of San Carlos – Talamban Campus.

The couple and their ten-month old son Markus Archer lives in Barangay Bulacao, Talisay City.

Just this month, they opened Dongki’s – a stall that specializes on chicken wings at the Tambayan Food Park in Pardo, Cebu City. They are open from 4 p.m. to 12 midnight every day.

They invested around P100,000 in opening the stall and used the money to purchase necessary equipment like fryers and chest freezers as well as for their stocks and ingredients. They also set aside a certain amount for the decoration of their stall.

Right now, they only have three main variants of their chicken wings on their menu – the My Sassy Wings, a Korean-inspired flavor; People’s Champ, similar to the Pinoy BBQ flavor; and The Godfather, their own twist on the classic buffalo wings.

“We plan to expand our menu and offer additional dishes very soon. We have ala carte and budget meals fit for students and foodies alike,” she said.

Lara, who currently works as a first line manager in sales for Lexmark, is in charge of the business’ marketing, hiring of staff, and payroll.

On the other hand, Alessandre, who used to work as a web designer for a publishing company, is more focused on the business and takes care of the legwork, daily stocks, and inventory.

They also get help from their two stall attendants.

How it started

Before specializing in chicken wings, the couple started with and online food business in 2015.

They sold homemade burgers online and sold them also in corporate office. The business, which was named Ma Da Da Na Burger of MDDN Burger, became a hit and spread fast among other people through word of mouth.

This prompted them to expand their menu to include the “Beer Belly” which is a pork belly marinated in beer as well as the “My Sassy Wings.”

MDDN also established its first physical presence in Sugbo Mercado, a food and lifestyle bazaar and had been receiving positive reviews.

Eventually, they decided to specialize in chicken wings, which is their personal favorite, and opened a food stall named My Sassy Wings Co. in Rustans where they stayed until May this year.

After which, that was when they set their sights on developing their chicken wings menu and worked on opening their stall at the Tambayan Food Park.

“We saw that there was a stall in Bugis, Singapore that specializes on only chicken wings. That inspired us,” she added. Dongki’s is the nickname of her husband.

Challenges, plans

Like most businesses, Lara and Alessandre also has their share of problems when they started Dongki’s.

For one, they faced challenges on daily logistics and preparing for their daily stocks and inventory.

Lara said they had to learn from their experiences and mistakes and eventually developed their own system to help ensure efficiency in their processes.

While they are still on their first month of operation, the couple has already seen a take up in their business saying it has been steadily growing.

Their customers are mostly students, young professionals and families who choose to spend time together through eating as there are other food stalls also in Tambayan Food Park.

According to Lara, the meticulous process before coming up with their final menu sets them apart from the many other chicken wings places in Cebu.

“We undergo extensive trial and error to achieve the perfect flavor. We don’t just put out a ton of new flavors just for the heck of it. We believe perfection is key,” she added.

For now, the couple want to focus on their first branch. But at the same time, they also want to open another branch soon. In the long term, they hope to establish Dongki’s as a reputable brand, open many more stalls, and even explore franchising.

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TAGS: business, chicken, couples, flight, food, soars, takes, wings

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