10 Aug2011

“In the Weeds…”

by Marketman

Being “in the weeds” in restaurant slang (at least in the U.S.) means falling behind on orders, or kitchen pandemonium. I didn’t really feel the phrase until the last few weeks, when on several occasions, I witnessed it first hand. The adrenaline that kicks into high gear, the resulting burned body parts that can occur during crazed cooking, the longer-than-intended table service and the sheer panic required to “get out of the weeds” is a frightening, yet exhilarating experience. So for the folks who follow this blog and who have followed the whole Zubuchon restaurant set-up story, here is stuff to keep you amused or mortified. I have bussed tables, washed dishes, made shakes, handed out menus, explained our dishes, fielded and responded to some complaints mostly on service, received many compliments from customers, posed for photos with blog readers, turned away folks on evenings where we just simply couldn’t take any more diners… In the past week alone, we played host and interviewed with KC Montero (above, practically being molested by some of our young female crew members) which may air this Saturday on TV5… Mr. Montero tweeted about the lechon he was eating to his 160,000+ followers… egads, is that how it works these days?!?

…did another interview with folks from Cityscape a show on ANC, the channel owned by ABS-CBN and hosted by Lexie Schulze; turned down repeated offers for various “roles” on a well-known television cooking show (can’t go into details on this). Just before the ABS-CBN tour of the lechonan, we quickly cut some fresh lemongrass (tanglad) and stuck it in a glass vase, and filled a second vase with several bulbs of garlic as we had no flowers on hand…

Meanwhile, we have been cooking more lechons than we have ever cooked before and maintaining consistency and quality is always a challenge…

The Teen took some black and white photos one afternoon, and we picked five of the pictures to enlarge, frame and hang in one of the restaurants.

While we have been full during most meal times, there are periods of eery calm in-between.

On some evenings like last Sunday, a calm late afternoon was followed by a veritable storm of diners, including this table of 18 in the foreground of the picture above, which included an avid marketmanila.com reader who rarely comments, but who dragged family and friends to dine at the restaurant, and we had to seat them quite literally on part of the parking lot! :)

Many thanks to readers for trying out Zubuchon and for letting your friends know about it. We are truly grateful and overwhelmed by the response we have been getting over the past couple of weeks. The constant challenge will be to maintain consistency and keep service levels up. :)



  1. CaLeL says:

    Congratulations Marketman! I can’t wait to visit your Zubuchon restaurant when we visit Cebu this year. More power to you!

    Aug 10, 2011 | 7:46 am


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  3. Thel from Florida says:

    Kayang-kaya ninyo yan! Bless your heart always.

    Aug 10, 2011 | 8:03 am

  4. Jeff says:

    Grabe! Daming tao! Galing naman talaga! :)

    Aug 10, 2011 | 8:08 am

  5. Dragon says:

    Hi MM – a couple of questions with no malice intended but just plain questions:

    does this ‘change’ your outlook of the food service industry that provide inconsistent results? Does it humble you or make you more understanding, patient and persevering when service and/or quality go below your standards?

    Of course, the questions are in reference to inconsistent, and not the consistent poor service/quality outlets…just curious.

    Aug 10, 2011 | 8:13 am

  6. ami says:

    Love those red chairs. What time are those off-peak hours?

    Aug 10, 2011 | 8:19 am

  7. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    Teen’s photos look awesome and didn’t notice them when we ate there for lunch this week. Hmmm, I think I just found another reason to have lunch there today. hahahaha

    Aug 10, 2011 | 8:19 am

  8. Susie says:

    MM, had guests in town but couldn’t get in on either times we tried. Do you guys take reservations?

    Aug 10, 2011 | 9:20 am

  9. Marketman says:

    Artisan, you were seated facing the other wall the last time you ate there… :) ami, off-peak hours are between 230pm and about 530pm, not exactly meal time. :( Dragon, no, this hasn’t changed my outlook at all. My service standards remain high, and our expectations of staff are high. We train extensively, pay higher wages and give all benefits before they become permanent, and still deal with high turnover. We have identified some great staff, and axed underperformers after a second or third chance. In the context of value, our average customer ticket is just PHP200-225 (US$5), and we believe that on average, we are providing service that is similar to restaurants that charge significantly higher than that amount. At a McDonald’s outlet, you would get just a Big Mac, large fries and large coke for that amount; at Zubuchon, you could have a fast meal of slow roasted lechon with rice and acharra, a freshly made kamias shake and change. :) So while I understand the challenges that restaurants face to provide consistently good service, I assert and still believe it is a combination of the staff and the MANAGEMENT of the staff. Whenever something goes wrong, and we are made aware of it, we try our darndest to recover, and here are some examples I am aware of in recent encounters:

    1. Client reserves table for 7, table is set up and reserved sign placed. New waiter opens the door for a “party of 7” and automatically seats them at the reserved table. Turns out it is the wrong party of 7! Name was not checked. So now we have the original client upset. He raises hell, as I would. We immediately give him options… and he agrees to wait another 15 minutes as his guests have not yet arrived. We manage to cobble together another table, his guests arrive, orders are taken, we apologize profusely for the our mistake, we give his lechon order complimentary or on the house, he declines but later accepts on checkout, his companions are very happy with the meal. I speak to him as he departs and he has thoroughly enjoyed the meal and says we handled the situation well. Recovery is as important as anything. Lessons learned, write name of client on the reserved notice. Do not take reservations on busy Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.

    2. Clients want a table, but there are none available. It is a 30+ minute wait. They are upset. We offer to invite them back at a different time, and provide a free sample dish of sisig for their trouble. They now have an option to return and get a freebie, and understand there is actually nothing we can do about being full. The clients return the next day, EARLY before dinner service. In other countries, busy restaurants are busy restaurants, you either wait or eat elsewhere.

    3. On a busy friday, several lechons for delivery are ordered. One family orders six lechons. Another secretary from the family’s company calls later and orders another lechon, apparently for a different member of the same family name. The order gets mixed up and crew only cooks 6 lechons, not 7. Disaster. Can’t cook another one when they arrive to pick it up. Crew calls client and tries to weasel their way out of the mistake, I happen to be there and cut the discussion. The client is offered a much larger lechon (destined for a restaurant) than they ordered as a replacement with profuse apologies. They accept the replacement. They ordered a PHP4000 lechon, and got a PHP8000 one instead. We swallow the loss. Staff are reminded to carefully check orders placed before production numbers are set.

    4. Complaints about food, if any. Our policy, immediately replace the dish or offer something else.

    5. Client enters an empty store mid-afternoon. Supervisor is on the phone on a personal call. Other staff are slow to respond. They are not properly informed about prices, supervisor is busy on what sounds like a personal call. This is the last straw after several incidents management is aware of. Client happens to know me, and sends a detailed complaint. The staff member is terminated the following day as this is the last in a string of concerns. CCTV cameras which were not yet installed in that branch are fast-tracked and PLDT begged to put them in sooner so the branch activity can be monitored from head office.

    6. On a positive note, staff are thrilled to receive positive feedback as well. They are thrilled to hear when a client is particularly happy with a meal, surprised by the modest bill, when they leave large tips, when they are told at the end of the meal that it was really worth the trip… Staff thrive on good feedback and we are grateful to clients who have been letting us know when things do go right…

    So you see, we are still trying, but there are still situations where we fail. And knowing that and still being upset about that is what will drive us to improve service whenever we can, in the context of our being a just above a fastfood restaurant and below a full service place… :)

    We encourage clients to contact our managers if there is something that went wrong… give us a chance to correct it, and we most likely will. Zubuchon can be reached at 032.236.5264.

    When I myself have a complaint about service, I usually elevate it to the supervisor or manager, and if they can’t respond, to their bosses. It’s when I don’t get a logical response from the senior people in a timely basis that I tend to go ballistic, and still do, even though I am now sometimes on the receiving end. :)

    Aug 10, 2011 | 9:25 am

  10. Marketman says:

    Susie, we don’t take reservations on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, late shows wreak havoc on the restaurant. For Mango Avenue store, call 032.239.5697 for reservations for other times. Thanks. :) Otherwise, text me or Artisan silly. :)

    Aug 10, 2011 | 9:28 am

  11. Tin says:

    Congrats MM! amazing how your passion transforms.. :-)

    Aug 10, 2011 | 9:54 am

  12. raquel erecipe says:

    This is my first time to visit your blog and it is interesting, is this your restaurant? looks great… I hope I could visit your place.

    Aug 10, 2011 | 10:25 am

  13. suzette says:

    hi mm! congrats on your new adventures :) can you please tell me where to get the chairs you use in your restaurants? thanks!

    Aug 10, 2011 | 10:45 am

  14. suzette says:

    btw, i’m not in China, just here in Laguna..

    Aug 10, 2011 | 10:46 am

  15. julie says:

    MM, just so appreciate the fact that you have to have a floral set-up, kahit na lemongrass & garlic pa ‘yan, even in the midst of the rush. flowers do so much to bring calm to one’s spirit, don’t you think? wish you more power and JOY in everything that you are busy with!!

    Aug 10, 2011 | 11:04 am

  16. psychomom says:

    was at a cook out this weekend, discussion went into how to make a great lechon. some people swear by rubbing soy sauce on skin, others atsuete oil. i just told them to check marketmanila.com to get great food tips and ideas. also advise them to eat at zubuchon (as many of them have family in cebu and are planning a visit home soon)!

    sayang talaga i did not have time to visit cebu when i went home last month. :(

    Aug 10, 2011 | 11:17 am

  17. Katrina says:

    Oooohhh the lechon looks so crispy!!! My mom was born in Cebu but raised here in Laoag City. Haven’t been back eversince. Maybe it’s time to visit and have a side food trip at Zubochon.

    Aug 10, 2011 | 11:18 am

  18. Joey in Dubai says:

    You’re one admirable person, MM, really.

    Aug 10, 2011 | 1:05 pm

  19. Papa Ethan says:

    MM, thanks for sharing your experiences — good and bad — in the ongoing saga of the Zubuchon enterprise. Very inspiring and informative for wannabe food service providers like myself.

    Aug 10, 2011 | 2:10 pm

  20. Mart says:

    Congratulations MM!

    Despite the few “encounters” you mentioned above everything seems to be going well. The few kinks are to be expected with any new enterprise.

    But better be prepared with the 160,000+ twitter followers. News of good food goes around really fast nowadays…

    The teen’s pics add a very classy touch to the place.

    Best wishes and more power to you MM! Hope to be able to visit there one fine day…

    Aug 10, 2011 | 2:12 pm

  21. Mimi says:

    MM, my friend from France is spending 3 days in Cebu. She was debating between Bangkok or Cebu. I convinced her when I mentioned the best lechon is at Zubuchon. She’ll be there between 14-16 August.

    More Power to you and crew!

    Aug 10, 2011 | 2:51 pm

  22. jakespeed says:

    Thanks for sharing us the lessons learned from your budding enterprise. It was an interesting read. I do hope that some establishments would take a cue from these. What looked to be infallible restaurants back then are currently nowhere to be found because of the decline of the quality of service and food. With your blog, I do hope you start a trend of restaurants offering authentic value-for-money food and service.

    Aug 10, 2011 | 3:05 pm

  23. Lambchop says:

    The service crew practically “molesting” KC Montero line was too funny! And too true haha!

    And the lemongrass centerpiece with the garlic bunch is really pretty, surprisingly. There’s something so calm and breezy about tangad, I wonder why… :)

    Aug 10, 2011 | 3:10 pm

  24. ronald n. villanueva says:

    who knows this business venture will be the next mang inasal, worth billions when a giant fastfood chain bought it!

    Aug 10, 2011 | 3:44 pm

  25. Hog Heaven says:

    Ah the excitement of running your own restaurant. Being hands on is really a must it seems. Being in the weeds is a happy problem to have when you know it is because so many customers are just so eager to try your Lechon :-)

    Aug 10, 2011 | 4:24 pm

  26. millet says:

    will be there with my whole barkada for lunch next week!

    Aug 10, 2011 | 4:24 pm

  27. Sam says:

    MM, trust that with all the wonderful posts about your Zubuchon adventure in Cebu, I will hit the ground running when I visit Cebu sometime in the late winter! I do not mind waiting for a seat. I’ve been through worse. It would be so sweet to savor the Zubuchon sisig under the happy piglet logo!! I am so proud of you!! Got room to lecture yet another roomful of hopeful MBA students? LOL!!! Best regards.

    Aug 10, 2011 | 4:25 pm

  28. millet says:

    “molesting” was the first thing that came to my mind when i first saw the picture, haha…(but i’d probably do the same thing, too, if i were there that time!).

    MM, it’s my first time to see tanglad in a vase..and both the tanglad and the garlic work! the bisaya manangs would say you’ve got the perfect anti-aswang combination right there!

    Aug 10, 2011 | 4:27 pm

  29. k. ramos says:

    Interesting. In your opinion, MM, what would be the best course of action if the staff delivered a wrong order (say, a cheese sandwich instead of tuna) and the customer realizes the mistake too late because s/he almost finished the meal?

    Aug 10, 2011 | 5:19 pm

  30. Elaine says:

    Very creative and resourceful on the tanglad/garlic centerpiece(; Btw, it is truly interesting and refreshing reading about your approach to good service. Even the good, higher-priced restos are not even at par with this kind of service. Hopefully, other food establishment owners will be able to pick up a point or two.

    Aug 10, 2011 | 5:29 pm

  31. cherry says:

    i hope MM would launch ZUBUCHON in Metro Manila and Davao City….

    Aug 10, 2011 | 6:22 pm

  32. juls says:

    i’m happy with the way you rectify mistakes and in the end earn the loyalty of your clientele. bravo MM.

    now, hope you’ll open a branch here in Bacolod?

    Aug 10, 2011 | 6:37 pm

  33. Betchay says:

    Yehey! I got my ticket for Cebu this October! Zubuchon, here I come!
    Really admire that you are hands-on in your 2 restos and customers’ satisfaction guides your management. Way to go!

    Aug 10, 2011 | 8:21 pm

  34. EbbaBlue says:

    MM, you are right, when a good restaurant is full, either you wait or leave. And I most of the time (who really wanted to eat there), will just wait even 45 mins. Somehow these places knows their crowd and they don’t take reservation or when a the first person of a big group arrives (and is waiting for the rest), he/she is not seated till the entire “gang” arrives, for she might say a group of 12 but actually only 8 comes; – number of accomodations is really important especially during lunch rush hour.

    Aug 10, 2011 | 9:08 pm

  35. Thel from Florida says:

    Philippines Town and Country Magazine’s “101 People You Must Meet Right Now”

    MM, you are one of them!

    Aug 10, 2011 | 9:11 pm

  36. chreylle says:

    m really admire u on how u handle ur business.. and for sharing the problem u have encountered.. btw, is there any chance ul launch it here in manila??? im drooling :(

    Aug 10, 2011 | 9:20 pm

  37. Marketman says:

    Hi guys, thanks, as for opening in Manila, the main issue is the lechonan itself. It is the major building block of opening restaurants. If Cebu continues in a positive manner (and guests don’t tire of the concept), then we plan a few more in Cebu, and when that has worked out, only then would we consider a new city… so keep your fingers crossed, and hope for the best. :)

    Thel, EGADS, what??!? Really? I had no idea until I read your comment. Will have to go get a magazine and look it up. :)

    suzette, chairs were from Mandaue Foam, or the wholesale furniture place near S&R in Cebu…

    Aug 10, 2011 | 9:36 pm

  38. Chris says:

    Here’s a link to the Town & Country article:


    Aug 10, 2011 | 9:55 pm

  39. baktin says:

    We had a great time last month at the Zubuchon-Mango (full account here: http://baktincorporation.blogspot.com/2011/08/zubuchon-restaurant.html). I wonder how the branch fares during Friday and Saturday evenings especially when its neighbors pumps up the volume of their speakers.

    By the way, when I asked one of the crew if ‘Market Man’ is in town, she did not know who the blogger was but apologetically clarified if I meant the owner instead. She probably missed the orientation? ;)

    Aug 10, 2011 | 11:15 pm

  40. MP says:

    Hi MM. Although I am not at all surprised, I am extremely pleased that service is given as much importance as food quality in your restaurant. I am one of those that will not hesitate to demand good service especially when I pay for it. But my thinking is, no matter how well planned everything is, mistakes are bound to happen. What is important is one’s ability to rectify them.

    It saddens me though, that some people do not take their jobs seriously despite the training coupled with the good compensation they get. I inadvertently assumed that people who are compensated well are more inclined to “repay” their employers by working well. I think it was a good move to let go of the underperformers rather than hang on to them for fear of wasting investments on their training…

    Aug 10, 2011 | 11:25 pm

  41. Life says:

    Hi mm! Will have my prenatal check up in the city this saturday and cant wait to eat at Zubuchon! Haaay..pregnant woman craving for lechon at almost midnight! Tsktsk. What time does the Mango branch open?

    Aug 10, 2011 | 11:35 pm

  42. Lava Bien says:

    I’ve worked in the Hotel & Restaurant business for at least 12 years since I was a teenager. Your great service and your being hands on is not usual in the Philippines, not by far. It’s very rarely (almost non-existent) that you’d find good service in a fast food price establishments. You have to be at a place like Dinner at Antonio’s in Tagaytay (2-3K pesos per head) to get very good service and its fine dining. Bottom line wala po yatang clue on what a good customer service is. Libre po ang customer service mga kapatid hehehe.
    Congrats MM, I’d visit your place one of this days even just to have your seaweed salad (can’t eat pork eh, bihira pa akong mag meat hehehe) just to experience the Ritz Carlton level service on a McDonald’s tab.

    Aug 10, 2011 | 11:48 pm

  43. Krizteene says:

    Hi, Marketman! I know you can overcome all the challenges that come your way =) I’m looking forward to visiting your restaurant pagbalik ko ng Pinas. God bless!

    Aug 10, 2011 | 11:53 pm

  44. alilay says:

    MM, would just like to say CONGRATULATIONS for being in the list of Town and Country’s 101 PEOPLE YOU MUST MEET RIGHT NOW! I read it on Chuvaness blog she’s (100th) and you are in the Top 20 yay!!!!!!

    Aug 11, 2011 | 1:47 am

  45. alilay says:

    MM, would just like to say CONGRATULATIONS for being in the list of Town and Country’s 101 PEOPLE YOU MUST MEET RIGHT NOW! I read it on Chuvaness’ blog yay!!!!

    Aug 11, 2011 | 1:49 am

  46. Rick says:

    Great looking staff, very photogenic :)

    Aug 11, 2011 | 2:43 am

  47. SD says:

    Congratulations MM! Now, about that question…

    Aug 11, 2011 | 3:03 am

  48. alilay says:

    oops sorry MM its alphabetically arranged pala hehe

    Aug 11, 2011 | 3:56 am

  49. Jannah says:

    Yey, you are in the “101 people you must meet right now” , @ number 14.

    Aug 11, 2011 | 4:43 am

  50. Ludwig says:

    Why have I never been to your site before? Wait, don’t answer that question. It’s prolly just ’cause I’ve been too much of a noob to go over things that actually matter. I came across your article on Kalumpit first. Then clicked home.. then… well, you know the drill.

    I’m so heading to ZubuChon the next time I’m in Cebu – which is next week. Haha! You have an awesome blog, by the way! Good fortune to the business!

    Blessed be.

    Aug 11, 2011 | 7:13 am

  51. Eileen says:

    MM, you can write a book on ” how to Deal with Sticky situations in your restaurant”…. galing! you’re taking customer service to heart! Congratulations again!

    Aug 11, 2011 | 8:00 am

  52. Marketman says:

    Ludwig, there are roughly 3,000 posts in the archives, so feel free to browse “backwards” when you have nothing better to do. Jannah, alilay, et al, thanks… and yes, it’s alphabetical. :) SD, what question? on Town & Country? Can’t help on that one. :) Lava Bien, actually, we have had several vegetarian guests in recent weeks… Our menu isn’t geared to vegetarians, but there are a few dishes you can savor… a kalabasa soup, ask them to hold the lechon flakes on top, a tomato salad with tinapang bangus, hold the bangus if you don’t eat fish, an eggplant salad, langka salad, shrimp sinigang, seaweed salad, fresh fruit shakes, vegetarian desserts… it’s not a complete meal, but you wouldn’t go completely hungry either. :) Life, Mango opens officially at 9am, but during the week, I believe the first lechon gets there at 11 am or so. On weekends, first lechons get in earlier… MP, on the second half of your comment, I have to agree. After providing better than industry perks, salaries, training, etc., we do feel a bit betrayed that turnover is still quite high, as though it didn’t matter at all. But we have found some really good folks in the process… baktin, thank you so much for that link to your article, it’s very kind of you to put that post up…and such wonderful pictures as well… glad you enjoyed your experience at the restaurant. Chris, thanks for that link, I had no idea about this list until the comments in this post! :)

    Aug 11, 2011 | 8:02 am

  53. Marketman says:

    k. ramos, sorry, I missed your question. If we delivered the wrong dish to the table, and the client notices it after eating half of it, and speaks up, we would have to cook up the right dish and deliver that to the table… or at least that would be my response. The mistake was ours, so the client should be allowed to taste what they ordered. Of course they should be charged only for what they ordered…

    Aug 11, 2011 | 9:15 am

  54. millet says:

    so, MM, the question on the article: “would you dare unmask the BBB?” ;-)

    Aug 11, 2011 | 10:54 am

  55. Marketman says:

    millet, best a question for Margaux Salcedo, I think… :)

    Aug 11, 2011 | 10:57 am

  56. cumin says:

    The peace and elegance of the photo with The Teen’s frames is such a contrast to the last photo of a full house. Very impressed with your commitment to customer service — thank you from all of us.

    I’ve been fascinated with restaurant kitchens after reading the book Heat, about Mario Batali’s restaurant in NY, and so I can almost picture the frenetic sizzle in Zubuchon’s backroom.

    Aug 11, 2011 | 12:18 pm

  57. mamaclara says:

    Hey MM! Will be there at the end of the month. I was initially scheduled to go home on December still but I just feel that Cebu is beckoning! Can’t wait to try Zubuchon. Hope I’ll be lucky enough to meet you in person. :)

    Aug 11, 2011 | 1:16 pm

  58. janlo says:

    Dining at Zebuchon will be at the top of my list when I visit Cebu. :)

    Aug 11, 2011 | 3:48 pm

  59. janlo says:

    Sorry I meant to type Zubuchon. :)

    Aug 11, 2011 | 3:49 pm

  60. giancarlo says:

    Fingers crossed on a manila restaurant!!!!

    Aug 11, 2011 | 9:10 pm

  61. rt gonzales says:

    hey MM, real proud of what you and the family and staff have reached. congratulations.

    Aug 11, 2011 | 9:25 pm

  62. FestiveRebel says:

    Great product, a genuine regard to customer service plus fully appreciated staff, this venture is a winner! Kudos MM.

    Aug 11, 2011 | 11:12 pm

  63. greens_blossoms says:

    Congratulations over and over again….even the immigration officer at detroit port of entry wants to try your lechon..i emailed you about it…you must be too busy to respond…or it might be on your spam folder…lol…

    Aug 12, 2011 | 4:19 am

  64. Marketman says:

    greens_blossoms, I have just checked my emails and spam and can’t seem to find your email… would you mind sending it again? I have been having issues with spam lately but would love to read the email… thanks :)

    Aug 12, 2011 | 7:42 am

  65. tipat says:

    MM, I can’t wait till you put up a Zubuchon branch here in Metro Manila. I hope you’ll be able to work something out.

    Aug 12, 2011 | 9:53 am

  66. Getter Dragon 1 says:

    Well done and well said MM. Growing pains are good problems to have. Who’s the cutie to the immediate left of Mr. Montero? Hopefully one day you can bring your lechonero skills here to the US. Good lechon, even in Filipinocentric Bay Area, is hard to find.

    Aug 12, 2011 | 11:18 am

  67. Faust says:

    Hello Market Manila, I’m really hoping that you’ll have an lechonan outlet here in Davao City?

    Aug 12, 2011 | 11:31 am

  68. greens_blossoms says:

    Hi MM..re sent email…hope you get it this time…

    Aug 12, 2011 | 1:01 pm

  69. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    Another review for your Zubuchon – one mango


    Aug 12, 2011 | 1:21 pm

  70. RV says:

    Congratulations MM! The overwhelming response to your resto is truly an inspiration especially to others who dream of putting up a business like yours. As a Manileño I am envious to the people who get the chance to taste what you offer in the menu. I am praying (really hard) that Zubuchon will soon come to Metro Manila! Keep it up!

    Aug 12, 2011 | 1:48 pm

  71. Ley says:

    Hubby called up the One Mango branch yesterday around 9a.m. to reserve a table for 5 for lunch. Your crew declined the reservation saying all tables were already reserved for lunch. It was a long overdue lunch date with a friend who is a big lechon fan so hubby had to name-drop you to get a table. Luckily, we got a table but we had to be there at 11:30 which was fine with us:)

    Aug 12, 2011 | 2:02 pm

  72. bambini says:

    When I got to Cebu last Aug. 4, my daughter and I went to the Mango branch at around 10 am. Your crew is well trained and has good customer PR. They didn’t have the “duh” or blank look when we asked them questions about the food. In cebuano, “abtik mu tubag”. :) Congratulations.

    Aug 12, 2011 | 4:01 pm

  73. moni says:

    Hi MM, I’m happy for you and the crew for Zubuchon’s success. For a proven great meal, customers are willing to wait for a table. I am in Honolulu this week where I find that customers queue up and wait for as long as an hour or more for breakfast at “Eggs n’ Things” and dinner at “Cheesecake Factory”. In both places, the customer’s name is taken down and a buzzer is given. If one cannot wait, then walking away is an option. We did that at “Eggs n’ Things” the first time we went there but we returned the next day at 6 am to make sure that the wait won’t be as long. This afternoon, my son and I traveled all the way from Waikiki to Helena’s Hawaiian restaurant where there was a queue but people stood in line outside the resto even under the glare of the setting sun. In all three restos, nobody raised a voice or expressed impatience. I’m sure Zubuchon customers would not mind the wait.

    Aug 12, 2011 | 4:18 pm

  74. Susie says:

    Thanks, MM….I should have texted you or Artisan! Next time, next time!

    Aug 12, 2011 | 5:58 pm

  75. MP says:

    @Artisan Chocolatier, one of the ladies in our Friday club said: “Ang swerte naman ni Artisan, pwede siyang kumain ng Zubuchon kahit anong oras…” Then another lady piped in: “Hmmmmmpppp, siguro ang taba na niya…..” You have to forgive us, it is ramadan in our side of the world so you can imagine how envious we are of you… :-)

    Aug 12, 2011 | 7:35 pm

  76. lee says:

    @MP when I saw Artisan Chocolatier he was slim, Marketman too. I’m just terribly underheight.

    Aug 12, 2011 | 8:08 pm

  77. psychomom says:

    @lee, hehehe, undertall or vertically challenged???
    @MM, my sister has a planned trip to cebu next month, she promised to try zubuchon, warned her that there might be a wait. i live vicariously through all you guys’ tastebuds….hay naku…

    Aug 12, 2011 | 8:17 pm

  78. Zerho says:

    Haha, I thought the picture up top was you MarketMan, and thought damn what has Marketman been eating lately… Anyways I’m super looking forward to eating at your restaurant.

    Aug 12, 2011 | 8:33 pm

  79. Liza m.c. says:

    Congratulations! Had dinner at your mango outlet a while ago. The food’s great! Our group came from Manila and Iloilo, and we enjoyed the food, though we would have preferred the salad to come before we finished our main meal. More power!

    Aug 12, 2011 | 10:22 pm

  80. Lava Bien says:

    @MM, wow! Thanks. imma try your kalabasa soup, no porky flaky, then sea weed salad and or langka salad then shrimp sinigang with steam rice and your kamias shake. Sounds like a plan.

    Aug 12, 2011 | 10:27 pm

  81. titabuds says:

    Kalabasa soup? With lechon flakes?!!! I need to get to Zubuchon right now. :)
    Seems the restaurant is fast becoming a should-not-be-missed stop in Cebu. Congratulations, MM.

    Aug 12, 2011 | 11:41 pm

  82. natie says:

    Great food, efficient and good-looking crew—better get a bigger cash register, MM…

    Aug 12, 2011 | 11:41 pm

  83. Beatrice M says:

    Thank you MM for giving us great eating options in Cebu. I am looking forward to my Cebu trip in a month’s time.

    Aug 12, 2011 | 11:58 pm

  84. shiko says:

    Hi MarketMan! Congrats on landing in the 101! Though of course you really didn’t need that kind of “validation.” ;)

    Just wanted to say I was lucky enough to be in Cebu late July for work and of course on my first night I made my way, stupidly umbrella-less, through a torrentially rainy evening to your Mango branch (by the way, you might want to post a mini-Google map there, as I, a newb to Cebu, confused “Mango Square Mall” with “One Mango Mall”–good thing they’re only across the street from each other, and yet it’s impossible to cross on foot!).

    And just because you might appreciate some more feedback–

    Arrived around 8:30 or 9 PM on a Wednesday night, waited about 20 minutes for a seat without incident (it’s worth it!). Kamias shake was excellent, but if you were to figure out a way to take that astringent finish off–and I firmly believe only you could do that–it would be utterly fabulous. Was eating solo so I just had your lechon-with-achara plate. Was dismayed to find it dry(!!!!) and barely swallowable especially with the vinegar. Admittedly, I imagine it had been a few hours since it was cooked, but still, not a pleasant surprise. The achara was great though. Wanted to order your budbud kabog–and then your leche flan–but sadly both were out of stock, said the very helpful waiters. Good thing your biko was also delicious. The guy who seemed to be in the most superior position–Erick or something…sorry I don’t recall his name anymore!–was very attentive and personally saw to my Zubuchon reservation that I claimed at the airport the night after. (The Zubuchon I have jealously hoarded here in Manila, of course.)

    All in all, obviously I’m going to come back every chance I get, especially now you have new bling on the walls, heh. Looking forward to ever better Zubuchon experiences. :) Kudos as ever to you for championing good service and good business practices. :)

    Aug 13, 2011 | 12:30 pm

  85. Marketman says:

    shiko, the lechons for dinner arrive at 530pm, so they do tend to be less appealing by 9pm. You probably ended up with the thigh meat, the least appealing, but it should have been heated up with a bit of Jus if still in stock… at any rate, I appreciate the feedback and glad you seemed to have enjoyed it overall… Being out of stock on something does drive me nuts but we insist on using only one source of budbud kabog (erratic) and only local milk for our leche flan, so we still have problems with making sure we always have them in stock… but thanks!

    Aug 13, 2011 | 1:06 pm

  86. chreylle says:

    Advance Happy birthday MM !!! :D

    Aug 13, 2011 | 5:15 pm

  87. Mindanaoan says:

    Still can’t help but be amused with the picture of KC and your female crew members =)

    Aug 13, 2011 | 9:49 pm

  88. maria sa america says:

    Congratulations on the success of Zubuchon! Your lechons look much, much better than the roasted suckling pig of Michael Ruhlman…hahaha!

    Aug 14, 2011 | 8:37 am

  89. Dianne says:

    Hay, Zubuchon in Manila would be the perfect 2011 Christmas gift! :)

    Aug 14, 2011 | 12:11 pm

  90. Josephine says:

    I had my one week of yearly holiday in Boracay and yes, I had time to read magazines. YES apparently you are one of the 100 people one really has to know or meet. I’m really glad I kind of ‘know’ you – if only vicariously!!

    Aug 15, 2011 | 12:08 am

  91. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    I was “under the weather” yesterday morning and felt that a zubuchon would pick me up. hehehe.

    So the Mrs. and I head over to the Mango branch around 2pm for a late lunch and the place was still full!! Lucky for us, a table inside was free and we had our fill. As usual, your very attentive staff recommended your newly launched “Santol Juice” and it was so refreshing!

    I also felt much better after the meal!!!

    Aug 15, 2011 | 6:51 am

  92. shiko says:

    Hi MarketMan! No problem. Maybe next time the only lechon available will be from a not-so-succulent part, the waitstaff could offer an alternative dish or, at least, liver sauce on the side. (Though this might horrify true-blue Cebuanos, so take that latter suggestion as you will. ;)

    Will be in Cebu again for work soon, so I’ll pop in for Round Two, I hope at lunchtime this time. :)

    Incidentally, I for one don’t mind your desserts being out of stock if that means quality and authenticity is not compromised. I’ll just have to be an earlier bird if I aim to get the worm. ;)

    Aug 15, 2011 | 2:56 pm

  93. arianne says:

    Hi marketman! Someone brought us some zubuchon chicharon and lechon from cebu.
    I was so excited! unfortunately the chicharon was “makunat”— we ate right after opening. and the lechon was a little bland.

    I guess we really have to go to cebu to appreciate the real thing!

    Aug 15, 2011 | 6:46 pm

  94. Marketman says:

    arianne, so sorry to hear that. Our chicharon and lechon has no MSG, and as such, doesn’t have that familiar hit of vetsin. But makunat is not typical in our experience… did you notice the expiry date on the package? We sell almost all our chicharon within 3-4 days of frying it, actually over 60% within 2 days of frying it, so makunat isn’t a pleasant state… As for the blandness of the lechon, my only guess is that it is predominantly thigh meat, which is less well seasoned than areas with greater exposure to the stuffing… I hope you will get to try us hot off the coals, try and get a mixture of ribs and thigh meat for both extremes. And see if our chicharon in-house passes muster… thanks for the feedback.

    Aug 15, 2011 | 6:55 pm

  95. env says:

    I think it’s time for you to prepare for expansion of your mango branch MM. The last time I was there, I saw a lot of customers being turned away because of space limitation. Those are groups of at least 5 persons. I’m so happy to know that the business is peaking this early. Congratulations!!!

    Aug 17, 2011 | 8:42 am

  96. Migs says:

    Hi MM,

    Our family had our lunch at Mango Avenue branch today. Customer service was good. Best tasting lechon skin so far! The floral arrangement was very refreshing, very nice (has positive effect on everyone)! Next time, I’d like to order the Santol shake. Will come back soon…

    Jan 29, 2012 | 1:09 am

  97. Marketman says:

    Hi Migs, thanks for dining at the restaurant, and glad you enjoyed your experience. Unfortunately, santol is now out of season, and should be taken off the blackboard until it becomes available again in the late summer…

    Jan 29, 2012 | 7:47 am


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