Zubuchon Celebrates 5 Years in the Restaurant Business!!

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Time flies while you are crazed with opening and managing a bunch of restaurants. Our first Zubuchon restaurant opened in June 2011 and we have managed to survive our first 5 years, having grown to 8 branches for Zubuchon (excluding our private deck space) and two bizarre Italian cousins called Pigafetta. The business actually started 6.5 years ago, with our first take-away stall, but the restaurants were opened in 2011. The latest data for the U.S. has some grim statistics. An estimated 26% of all new restaurants apparently fail by the end of the first year, roughly 60% by the end of the third year, and fully 80% by the end of the fifth year. So we are obviously thrilled to have lasted this long. And if you (of porcine persuasion) all collectively keep your fingers crossed, we very much would like to finally open an outlet in Manila by year’s end. We are still nailing down a location as I type this… And three previous leases fell through, so nothing’s for sure and we need lots of fingers crossed. :)

To celebrate our fifth anniversary, we hosted a quiet dinner for 19 (two folks arrive late and are not in this particular photo) of our employees who have been with us from the start. Out of approximately 32 people in our opening team, we have managed to retain 60% of them for the full five year ride (trust me, that’s an amazing retention rate in the restaurant business). I am grateful to each and every one of them, and to all of our previous and current employees (now roughly 250!) for all that they’ve done for Zubuchon! And thanks to all those wonderful marketmanila.com readers who have visited our restaurants over the years, I am certain a huge part of our success was due to your patronage. Maraming Salamat!!!


52 Responses

  1. This is like reading about a grandchild graduating… Congratulations, MM and crew. I’m thrilled for you all!!

  2. Congratulations MM and staff! Good job! Keep it up!
    Yey! The Z is coming to Manila!!!!

  3. Congratulations Mr. MM and the Zubuchon family!
    Maybe when I next go home to the Philippines, I will finally taste the best pig ever!

  4. Congratulations MM and to the rest of the Zubochon family! This occasion calls for lechon. :)

  5. Congratulations MM and crew! I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed for the Manila outlet. :)

  6. Congratulations MM and crew! Dropped by Zubuchon last Monday at the airport pre dep area as we transited Cebu enroute to MNL from LA (long story) and was a bit disappointed to find that dinuguaang lechon had been discontinued (according to your staff). Had been thinking of it the whole flight! Consoled myself with some lechon sisig instead.

  7. can’t believe it’s been 5 years! congratulations, MM and crew, and here’s to more good eats!

  8. Congratulations, MM and crew!!! I have all my fingers crossed and will cross my legs too if needed for the Manila outlet opening…

  9. Could it be that all these five years were just a prelude, a pilot project ostensively favouring a particular region but in reality, a covert dry-run for the Manila debut?

  10. ooohhhhh I’m keeping all my fingers (and toes) curled for the Manila Branch ^_^

    Congratulations MM! Long may Zubuchone prosper!

  11. Congratulations!! Many more years of success. Can’t wait to go back to Pinas to eat at Zubuchon. Cheers!

  12. Congratulations, MM and Crew!!

    Manila this year and keeping our fingers crossed, the entire Philippines in the next 5 years to come!

  13. Congrats MM! Manila outlet by year’s end. Woo-hoo! Will definitely go next time I have a trip back home to the Philippines.

  14. congratulations! I always look up to u being a food entrepreneur and most of all ur master of skillfull writing and zest for freedom of expression (ur rants ?)

  15. Oh, no! Manila opening end of the year? Which means I have to trek to Cebu when I visit Pinas in October… MM, which particular branch in Cebu is the biggest? Congratulations and cheers to you and your staff!

  16. Nina, the one at Marina Mall 5 mins outside the airport is our most visited on Mactan I think, and the one at Escario Street near the Provincial Capitol is the biggest one in the city. We have a new one in the basement of SM City which is convenient if you happen to be there and there are a few more banches elsewhere in the city. Mary Chen, thanks, it’s been an accidental turn into restaurateur, but enjoyable. Footloose, actually provincial concepts don’t necessarily thrive in the big city, so this is just going to be like dipping a toe in the big pond with lots of barracudas… :) Ying, so sorry you missed what you had been hoping to consume on your stopover. We serve the dinuguan at the full branches, no longer at the airport. But if you are headed back the same way and you give me enough warning, I will try to send a special portion or two for you to enjoy on the flight back to the U.S.! Thanks to all for your kind words and crossed body parts!

  17. Congratulations! I am proud to say I am part of that early group that watched Zubuchon grow from its early days of kitchen experiments to a major lechon brand. Way to go, MM and crew!

  18. Five years already?!! WOW, how time flies. It seems like only last year when you started your kiosk at BTC. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!

  19. Congratulation MM and Zubochon. Hope to see your branch in Mindanao Avenue soon.

  20. Thanks MM, the diniguaang lechon will have to wait when you open your Manila branch as we are based here in Manila. Looking forward to it!

  21. WOW, congratulations MM!! Crossing my fingers for your Manila branch. Our family once planned a trip going to Cebu JUST to be able to taste you lechon but plans fell through. Hopefully, we won’t have to anymore with your Manila restaurant. =)

  22. Congratulations MM ! Looking forward to tasting Zubuchon when I go to Manila nxt year.I will invite 15 friends and order everything on the menu and definitely pig-out. Can’t wait!

  23. Hello Marketman! Congrats to you and your staff on this beautiful milestone!

    We managed to go to Zubuchon twice last week and just absolutely loved the fish skin tacos and duhat and kamias shakes! Joy and Yeng of SM City branch efficiently reserved for us 9 bottles of your jams and jellies and all of the fish skin packets in stock that day (12) which we all picked up at the Marina branch.

    We are now spending some time in Makati but those goodies will definitely be brought back home with us to the States.

    Congrats again and looking forward to your announcement of a Manila branch for Zubuchon soon!

  24. Congratulations, Zubuchon! I just had a big serving of zubuchon (with lots of balat, of course!) for lunch- courtesy of an officemate who just flew in from Cebu. :)

    MM, I am so excited for the Manila branch na. I hope you consider QC area, perhaps UP Town Center? Hehehe…

  25. Congratulations MM and Zubuchon! I’ve been reading this blog for so long and sadly it was only last April that I finally tried dining at Escario branch. Previously, I just had the lechon as pasalubong =)

  26. Congratulations, Zubuchon!!! Always and will be a loyal customer when we are in Cebu or someone goes to Cebu. :-) Looking forward to a Manila branch.

  27. Congratulations MM …. will keep my fingers crossed and pray hard for you to open a Zubuchon restaurant here in Manila!!!

  28. Congrats MM and team! I hope that considering Makati is the center of the (my) universe, that you wont consider opening anywhere else haha

  29. Wow! Five years! Congratulations MM, and more power to Zubuchon! Can’t wait for a branch to open in Manila. =)

  30. Congratulations MM,family and Team Zubuchon! That long na pala since Anthony Bourdain show. I wish your Metro Manila branch will be open early Sundays. That way we can order to go/takeout Lechon fast and no trapik from the province (Tarlac). Thanks.

  31. Congratulations MM!! I’m looking forward to the Manila branch!! :) Crossing my fingers here.. XD

  32. Congratulations MM and your team! Did I hear it right? You are going to open a branch in Manila? Can’t wait!!!

  33. Congratulations MM! 5 years indeed; how time flies. I remember the Lechon Chronicles on this blog then the air-freighted piggies followed by the brick and mortar restaurants. I remember you said you wanted an upscale turo-turo in the beginning, but we all know Zubuchon is anything but! I have yet to try Pigafetta; must get my butt back to Cebu soon.

    Anyhoo, this made my day: “we very much would like to finally open an outlet in Manila by year’s end.” Looking forward to that! Woohoo! The piggie comes to Manila!

  34. Oho, Manila in the works. Great news. I would still like to visit any of your branches in Cebu, though. A convenient excuse to travel, heh.


  35. Wow! Five years, MM. Congratulations! I try to get to a Zubuchon restaurant whenever I am in the city. And for all the other followers here, eating at Pigafetta is a must. You will just love it, too. MM, where is the other Pigafetta? Been to the Escario twice already.

  36. Cheers and congratulations MM and staff! Looking forward to the Manila outlet, will surely visit when we come home. Crossing my fingers too!

  37. I was reading your post about growing figs in the Philippines, and then I discovered you own Zubuchon! I just want to say that I love your lechon, I think it tastes better than the famous Carcar’s. Most lechon Cebu are very salty but Zubuchon’s just taste perfect for me. Congrats on your team, looking forward to your Manila branch and hope you’ll have more branches in Luzon and Mindanao soon.

  38. joycie, thanks for dropping by Zubuchon! We have our fingers crossed for a Manila branch by the end of the year… :) Faust, no, we haven’t thought about Davao yet. Because of the way we are set up (with a commissary to roast), we need to open some 5-6 branches in a city when we decide to locate there… Farida, the other Pigafetta is a teeny tiny one beside a Zubuchon restaurant at the Pueblo Verde Outlets mall in Mactan. Roughly speaking, it is in the center of Mactan island…

  39. Congratulations Sir MM! Kudos to all your staff, family and friends who has been with you since the start :) Godspeed

  40. Congrats MM , and all the best going forward. Same goes to the Zubuchon team.

  41. Coming out of hibernation to congratulate you on your 5th year of Zubuchon! So excited for the Manila branch! Dadayuhin namin!



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