CULT FOLLOWING TAKES TAZZA CAFE TO NEW HEIGHTS
Thanks to Facebook and word-of-mouth, Tazza Café and Patisserie has grown from a home-based cake business to a café with two branches
Business is booming for a young couple who took a leap of faith by expanding their small coffee and dessert shop into a fullfledged café.
Tazza Café and Patisserie owners Dexter and Jessica Chua continue to cultivate a growing following of loyal regulars at their “Instagrammable” spot at the Banilad Town Center (BTC) in Cebu City.
A medical technology graduate of Velez College, Jessica pursued her passion for cooking and baking. She let go of her medical profession and opportunities to work abroad in exchange for baking and pastry, and cooking tools.
“I felt like it wasn’t my calling. But when I watched cooking or baking shows, I was always delighted. So while studying med-tech, I enrolled in culinary school,” said Jessica.
She enrolled in the International Culinary Arts Academy Cebu, and apprenticed at the Makati Shangri-La and later, at the the Hy- att Regency in Georgia, USA.
Her husband, Dexter, works for the family’s construction and real estate business.
The two got married in 2012 at the height of Jessica’s success in her home-based cake business under the trade name “Pastries by Jessica” and Dexter’s blossoming career in the corporate world.
Two years after their wedding, the couple found a small spot along Wilson St. in Apas, Cebu City. They opened Tazza Café and Patisserie with the aim to bring Jessica’s cake business to the next level.
They pooled together their savings of P2 million, which took them 10 years to save, to jumpstart their first business.
“We were blessed to have loyal clients who have been with us since I started baking cakes. I can say that I have already been part of my clients’ milestones, from the birthdays of their kids to debuts and other big occasions. The business grew so fast that I could no longer accommodate pickups from the house. So we felt that opening a shop would help us manage the business. Plus, Dexter suggested to pair our cakes and other pastries with coffee, and other food items, hence the birth of Tazza,” said Jessica.
Starting out with a business plan, the couple worked hard to develop their own business. They worked day and night on a new menu to offer to the market.
Facebook and word-of-mouth have helped customers locate their shop. Aside from being attached to a hotel, which is already a captive market, Jessica’s loyal clients have found their way to the cafe, unwinding with a good cup of coffee and desserts or pastas.
Four years after opening in Apas, the couple expanded the business in BTC in Banilad. With a much bigger location and seating capacity of 50 persons, Dexter said they have transformed Tazza into a full-fledged café, attracting customers to have light meals and snacks at their place.
“We expanded our menu to cater to all types of customers. We want to be their top-of-mind dining destination,” he said.
Attention to detail, cleanliness and high food quality have been the three main ingredients in Tazza’s success, Dexter explained. He said they are very particular with the kitchen’s cleanliness and organization, especially that they are in a highly-sensitive business.
“There are plenty of challenges in business. But for food, you have to make sure that your kitchen’s clean, and the food quality is observed,” Dexter said.
Looking forward, the couple is eyeing more locations to expand the business, but as a small-café setup with fewer food options. This concept would serve the food and beverage needs of the market that’s always on the go.
“There may be opportunities that may come along our way. We have to wait and see, and then strike when the opportunity is right,” Jessica said.
Dexter also shared he is now going full-time in the business to make sure all important aspects are covered. He said it also inspires him to work alongside his wife, who he says is his source of inspiration.
Dexter said he finds it inspiring to work for something he knows is his, and will give him quality time with his family while working.
He said they are blessed to have this shared goal because although they critique each other, they bring out the best in each other.
LIFE IS SWEET. For spouses Jessica and Dexter Chua, pouring their life’s savings into their business was a risk worth taking. Tazza Cafe and Patisserie now has two branches.