Starting a Food Business: 12 Lessons from Hamia House of Kare-Kare

Peachie Ciudadano Photography
12 min read

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Quezon City, Philippines – Starting a food business is attractive to new entrepreneurs because good food is always in demand and the market generally spend a fair share of their disposable income on eating out. Some of us who are blessed with a talent in cooking dream of someday starting our own food business. But what makes us apprehensive about starting a food business is our fear of failure. We don’t know what to expect and committing costly mistakes would mean losing our hard-earned investments.

We can always look at those who have been successful in their ventures who can share their lessons learned so we can do better at doing it right the first time.

About Hamia, the Restaurant

hamia house of kare-kare

Located at 6 Jordan Plaines, Commonwealth Avenue Extension, Novaliches, QC (near San Benissa Condominiums & LTO Novaliches), Hamia House of Kare-kare has become synonymous with good-tasting Filipino food served in a homey, Spanish classical ambiance by a well-trained kitchen crew.


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We were lucky to have interviewed the owner Dean Deric Sy who narrated how his love for cooking gave birth to this restaurant that food lovers would go out of their way to find even on ordinary days.  

Here are 12 lessons for starting a food business

1. A business should be something that you love doing or are very passionate about.

Hamia Kaldereta

LSC: How did Hamia start? Is this your first venture or have you tried other food businesses before?

Deric: We started with the burger joint beside Hamia to draw clients to this place. My partner who lives here in Fairview has around 280 properties around here. I did not know this place initially. After I got married, I resigned from being one of the pioneer chefs at Vikings. I actually started a restaurant business in another location. I placed all my money and my wife’s in a buffet concept restaurant along Retiro, Quezon City. It was a big, big place around 700 sq. meters.

The problem was when construction was about to be finished, the owner of the lot beside mine complained and did not want my restaurant to push thru. My lot was across Shakeys so it was not totally a residential area. The owner of the lot adjacent mine did not welcome the idea of us building near them because a gasoline station was already there so having us a restaurant would put their place in danger which they did not like.  That incident was very depressing. I tried to look for somebody I know in City Hall but that too did not work. I lost around seven (7) million pesos. That was five years ago. Two years after, I was able to recover some of my losses when I was able to open a car accessories shop near this place. However, my dream was really to have a restaurant. I told myself then that if I could only open a single restaurant, I’ll be happy enough but now that Hamia is doing this well, I want to put up more branches.


LSC: What made you start the business? Is it due to a secret recipe? 

Deric: My mother is a good cook. She loves to cook for the family during special occasions. If most families would go out on special occasions, my mom on the other hand would gather the family and cook good food. The house recipe Kare-kare is my mom’s recipe. I got my love for cooking from my mom. This is really my line of business because it has been my hobby to cook and my dream business is really to have my own restaurant. After having graduated from a culinary course, I worked at Cafe Isabel, then went to work for Vikings. I was with Vikings when they opened. However, I was newly married then and my wife and I immediately ventured into our first business. 

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