When I started Zubuchon, one of my main objectives was to provide more job opportunities, and jobs that paid better and looked out for employee welfare. It really wasn’t intended to be just a money maker, an objective that tax authorities took us to task for after our first half year of restaurant operations. Today, we have grown to nearly 250 personnel, we have more than 80% permanent staff (that’s low since we have recently added several dozen folks in anticipation of new outlets), we do NOT have any broken shifts like 90+% of restaurants (meaning they work lunch, have a gap of several hours and work again at dinner, making for an effective 12 hour work day) and we provide all benefits mandated by law, and in addition medical insurance for some members of the staff. They have the best outings and parties, sports tournaments, training, trips and eat better than most employees in various types of companies. We spend almost double what other restaurant chains spend on staff, and that comes out of profits directly (which also means there is less to tax… :).
So when one of our own, a lechonero who is quite young, is interviewed and featured in a full-page article in the local papers, basically telling us his family’s story of woe and how he is now, at just 22 years old, effectively the main breadwinner in his family, it brings more than a bit of joy to me and everyone else at Zubuchon. Despite all the complications and headaches associated with running a business here in the Philippines, it is little snippets of reality like this one story that make it all so very worth the effort. The article doesn’t state it, but John’s grandfather was my wife’s grandmother’s trusted driver for many decades, so when his dad passed away and the family was clearly in the dumps, we were more than happy to take him under the Zubuchon wing, and now that includes his sisters and mother as well.
He must have the luck of the media with him, as John was also the one Zubuchon employee with the longest cameo role in the Daniel Padilla movie “Must Be Love” a couple of years ago, he appeared in a full page spread in an Australian cookbook called 7000 islands and he has appeared in several other magazine shoots. Needless to say, as soon as I saw this article in print this morning, I had him buy 4 more copies to give his Lolo and his cousins. He was beaming from ear to ear. And all the other employees at head office have been ribbing him no end all morning.