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

Sun.Star Cebu - - BUSINESS - KATLENE O. CACHO / Ed­i­tor @katCa­cho

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.

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