Wolf­gang’s Steak­house opens its sec­ond branch in Manila.


Town & Country (Philippines) - - T & C - By Ali­cia Colby Sy Por­trait by Pa­trick Mar­tires

Marvin Agustin’s smile and Ray­mund Magdaluyo’s en­thu­si­asm could sell any­thing to any­one at least once, but af­ter decade and a half in the food busi­ness, and with a ros­ter of suc­cess­ful restau­rants un­der each of their belts, this duo has proven that there is much more to them than just a few good ideas. Yes, there is earnest­ness—a lot of it—but be­yond that there is per­se­ver­ance, pas­sion, acu­men, and above all, true grit.

The two, who have been busi­ness part­ners with friend and fel­low food en­tre­pre­neur Ricky Lau­dico since 2005 in the pop­u­lar Sumo Sam group of Ja­panese restau­rants, have formed a sec­ond cor­po­ra­tion, Ex­cello Restau­rant Man­age­ment Group, with Leina Boli­nas, that will con­cen­trate on bring­ing in in­ter­na­tional con­cepts to the coun­try. To date, it has launched Wolf­gang’s Steak­house from New York and Gen Korean BBQ, from Los Angeles, with a third con­cept set to open soon.

While both Agustin and Magdaluyo each have large stakes in other food busi­nesses (Magdaluyo is the pres­i­dent of the Red Crab Group and Agustin owns sev­eral food carts and fran­chises, and is a part­ner in Tai Koo HK Roast), the two are ded­i­cated to grow­ing Ex­cello’s global plat­form. This year, Wolf­gang’s Steak­house, which first opened in Manila in 2016 at New­port Mall, is in the midst of an ex­pan­sion, hav­ing re­cently opened its sec­ond branch at The Podium in Man­daluy­ong and a third planned for Boni­fa­cio Global City this sum­mer.

“Our Wolf­gang’s part­ners are very ac­tive in the day-to-day op­er­a­tions as this is a joint ven­ture and not just a fran­chise,” says Agustin. “Our gen­eral man­ager re­ports to them di­rectly and brings to the sur­face all prob­lems, chal­lenges within the op­er­a­tions, to both of us. To be hon­est, this brand is easy to man­age. The menu is very sim­ple and straight­for­ward—it’s New York com­fort food.” As with any steak­house, the source of the meat is vi­tal and Wolf­gang’s in­ter­na­tional net­work and ex­per­tise in sourc­ing and lo­gis­tics have proven in­valu­able. “Our meat is aged for 28 days on­site,” con­tin­ues Agustin. “It is chilled but never frozen and flown to Manila reg­u­larly.”

With the Philip­pine restau­rant scene mov­ing faster than most can keep up with, Agustin says that un­der­stand­ing the be­hav­ior and so­phis­ti­ca­tion of their din­ers is what keeps them ahead of the game. “Mil­len­ni­als are very im­por­tant to the growth of our busi­ness and we take no­tice of that. They like their food and value for money is paramount to them. They want fun, they want beau­ti­ful set­tings, and they do en­joy their din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, but in the end, it must be of good value or they will spend their money else­where. With all of our es­tab­lish­ments, we make sure we of­fer just that. Th­ese days to keep com­pet­i­tive you can’t just of­fer ‘good enough.’ That doesn’t work any­more and that’s a good thing. It chal­lenges us. It ex­cites us!” New­port Mall, Re­sorts World Manila, Pasay, 511.7009; The Podium, 8 ADB Ave, Or­ti­gas Cen­ter, Man­daluy­ong, 505.6272.

GrAND VI­SIoN clock­wise: Marvin Agustin; the sig­na­ture porter­house steak and New york cheese­cake at wolf­gang’s Steak­house.

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