Biz Buzz: From one restaurateur to another | Inquirer Business

Biz Buzz: From one restaurateur to another

/ 02:08 AM August 19, 2015

One of the fanciest (and also one of the priciest) restaurants in town—Donosti Pintxos Tapas—has changed hands recently, in a multimillion peso deal possible only among the upper crust of Philippine society.

Donosti, which was set up by Sabin Aboitiz almost two years ago, quickly established a reputation as being one of the finest places to dine and have drinks in the metropolis, frequented by CEOs, expatriates and the who’s who of high society.

For those who haven’t been to the place, the restaurant is located at the ground floor of NAC Tower in Bonifacio Global City, the same office building where the Aboitiz group has its temporary headquarters (pending the construction of their own building in BGC’s Arca South section).


Donosti is, of course, known for its cuisine from the Basque region of Spain where the Aboitiz family’s ancestors hailed from, “the best draft beer in the country” (it claims), and a wide selection of fine wine.


But Sabin apparently had other pursuits in mind and running a high-end restaurant can take up a lot of one’s executive time and resources. In stepped the Eric Recto and buddies Jojo Madrid, Fred Uytengsu and Jeri Jalandoni who already run another fancy restaurant called Masseto and the adjacent Bar M.

So for a few million pesos—OK, maybe not so few—the ownership of Donosti changed hands from one wealthy owner to another set of wealthy owners. No worries for the restaurant’s fans, though, as everything will stay as it is, including the prices which average P3,000 or so per head (assuming one stays away from the ultra pricey items on the menu).

Of course, Donosti will never be too far from the Aboitiz family even if it is now controlled by a different group. You see, Recto and his friends also brought in another investor to help them buy the tapas bar—namely Sabin’s elder brother, Endika. So expect the menu to stay true to its Basque roots … and the prices to stay “upscale”. Daxim L. Lucas

Pan De Manila IPO

PRIOR to its planned mega initial public offering worth $700 million to $1-billion, food manufacturer Monde Nissin Corp. of the “Lucky Me” noodles fame had been in talks for a potential acquisition involving a large food retailer with a sizeable footprint. This local company, after all, has successfully concluded a string of acquisitions here and abroad and is not a newbie in corporate courtship.

So in previous months, Monde Nissin of entrepreneur Betty Ang had made a move on Pan de Manila, which now has a network of more than 1,000 stores. There’s some synergy seen since Monde Nissin’s products can also be distributed in this growing network of food stores.


Pan de Manila is itself a profitable company and has been a reluctant bride.

The latest buzz is that the talks have collapsed and Pan de Manila itself is planning to go public instead of selling out to a new investor. Doris Dumlao-Abadilla


Healthcare bet

THE AYALA group has invested $8 million to $10 million in acquiring a 50-percent stake in Generika group, operator of the country’s third-largest drugstore chain and a pioneer in the local distribution of affordable generic medicine.

Generika currently has about 550 stores nationwide and the Ayala group hopes to scale up the network to 1,000 in five years, according to Paolo Borromeo, Ayala group head of corporate strategy and development.

About 90 percent of Generika’s stores are franchised to date, which suggests that franchising will continue to play a big role in its growth.

For those interested in investing in a Generika franchise, the cost is P1 million to P1.1 million and typical payback is less than three years. A typical store footprint is 20 to 30 square meters—the usual size of a studio apartment in the metropolis. But just like any other business, it’s all about choosing the right location, Ayala officials pointed out.

Generika has the third-largest drugstore network in the country after The Generics Pharmacy, which has more than 1,600 outlets (expected to end this year with 2,000) and Mercury Drug, which has about 1,000 outlets, based on their respective websites.

Apart from its business, what attracted the Ayala group to Generika is its efficient IT system, which is, in turn, key to inventory management.

On e-commerce strategy, Generika has a platform by which overseas Filipinos can send medical allowance to local beneficiaries using an electronic gift certificate “MEDPadala,” which can be used to purchase medicine at its stores. This scheme ensures that the beneficiaries will use the funds to actually buy medicine instead of being diverted to other things. Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

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TAGS: Ayala group, Generics Pharmacy, Generika, MEDPadala, Sabin Aboitiz

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