HR man strives for Kuofo in hospital resto business

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita October 01,2018 - 09:55 AM

Jerry de Leon, one of the owners of the Kuofo Fortune Foods, shows some of the Filipino dishes that they serve at the restaurant inside the Chong Hua Mandaue hospital.
CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA

In a hospital, while tending to a sick family member, what gives you comfort? For some, it is a hearty, home-cooked meal.

When 37-year-old Jerry de Leon opened Kuofu Fortune Foods in September 2016, it was to fulfill his longtime dream of owning a food business.
But over the past two years, the restaurant, which is located inside Chong Hua Hospital in Mandaue City, has become more than just a business for him.

“There’re a lot of people in Chong Hua. I feel that this is a responsibility now, more than a business. Whether the relatives of patients are having sad or happy moments, I’m hoping our food will provide them with comfort,” he said.

This is why Kuofu is the only tenant in the hospital’s food court that opens as early as 6 a.m. and closes as late as 9 p.m. They are open every day of the week including holidays.

A graduate of business administration from the University of San Carlos (USC), De Leon spent most of his career as a businessman in the human resource development sector.

In 2006, he established Lead Mover Career, a human resource consulting firm. For the past 11 years, he worked on this business together with a partner and also opened up a spa business later on.

But De Leon said that he had always wanted open up his own food business.

He said he himself loved to eat good and quality food.

“For me, it’s a dream come true. I’ve been wanting a food business. I did not know it would start like this. I learned food safety, managing people in the kitchen, and the pricing. It has been experimental for the past two years,” he said.

Through his business partner, De Leon found a spot in Chong Hua Mandaue which had only opened for six months back then.

De Leon invested around P2 million for his food business venture which he used to buy kitchen equipment, design his space, get ingredients, and pay for rent among others.

Hands-on

He may not have professional training in cooking, but De Leon knows good food when he tastes it.

Kuofu currently has a staff of 12 employees – seven in the kitchen and five as the dining crew, who work on shifts.

De Leon spends most of his time during the day in the restaurant. He gets his meals from the restaurant and he can be seen busily pacing around from the kitchen, to the display area.

For him, he believes he could not please his customers if he himself is not pleased. So he makes sure that the flavors he wants are ensured and that this is not pricey.

“I’m very hands-on. I have to check the kitchen, that it’s clean all the time, the utensils have to be heated to the right temperature. I take care of the checks, payables, and suppliers, including the grocery,” he said.

His many years in the human resource development sector also helped him run his food business.

Menu

Since he is half Chinese, De Leon initially wanted to offer home-cooked Cebuano Chinese food. However, the scarcity of local talents to make good and authentic Chinese food was a problem.

Now, they stick to Cebuano and Filipino cuisine.

Their favorites include fish tinola, chicken sotanghon, beef caldereta, pork binagoongan, pancit guisado, guso, among many others. Their menu also changes during lunch and dinner, and from day to day.

But to get a little more creative, De Leon and his kitchen staff would include one or two foreign cuisine in their menu for the day. Among their favorite are the Korean-style sweet and spicy chicken, Bulgogi, and Indian chicken curry.

The prices of their food are also easy on the pocket.

Each viand costs an average of P65. They also offer value meals at P110, which includes a main dish, a side dish, rice, and soup.

In order to show their appreciation for employees of Chong Hua, Kuofu offers their value meal at a discounted price of P85 to all employees of the hospital. They just have to present their ID upon payment.

According to De Leon, in Chinese, Kuofu means “good food, good fortune.” They also found out that Kuofu is also a name of a food court in Singapore and in Malaysia.

Last September 25, Kuofu Fortune Foods celebrated its second anniversary.

During their anniversary week, they offered a free rice promo between 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Among the other tenants inside the food court of Chong Hua, Kuofu is the most well-loved. By 11 a.m. or 12 noon, the lines in the stall are the longest.

Second branch

After seeing Kuofu take off, De Leon is already planning to put up another restaurant, a branch of the hospital restaurant.

Unlike the first Kuofo restaurant, he wants the branch to be a standalone restaurant.

They hope to open it before the year ends or by next year.

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TAGS: business, career, Cebu‬, day, hospital, HR, kuofo, Man, open, resto, strives

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