SANTIS Delicatessen: The road to survival is sweet and savory
Food and culture are often so intertwined that it is often the reasons why most of us (even non-foodies) travel to particular destinations, to go on adventures, to relish their culture through authentic food, wine, and other local specialties, and ticking them off in our must-try lists. However, there is no question how so notably this pandemic has impacted global tourism and to say that the past years have changed the travel experience of many is an understatement. Thus, while traveling has changed in more subtle ways, there are stores in the Philippines that continue to offer the mélange of world flavors without having to leave the comforts of your own home. Such is SANTIS Delicatessen, your favorite neighborhood deli which offers world-class gourmet products from all over the world.
SANTIS Deli’s journey began in September 1987, a period when people had to go to lavish hotels and restaurant to splurge on dishes and treat their tastebuds, only to find out that not everything offered pleased their discerning palates. There are Filipinos who always crave for authentic, superior quality dishes that are value for money and so Werdenberg International Corporation, Werner Berger and company, decided to open a delicatessen shop that can resolve every cook’s woe in marketing and food preparation at home. It was then when SANTIS Delicatessen was born.
SANTIS derived its name from Mount Säntis, a breathtaking mountain in the northeast of Switzerland. It is a known destination for those who can climb its arduous but rewarding trail as some of Switzerland’s finest gourmet restaurants are nestled at the top and one gets to eat and enjoy a spectacular view.
SANTIS Deli in the Philippines started with at least 80% imported goods, being a novelty, then, in the Philippines. Today, after more than three decades, SANTIS imports 95% of their world-class gourmet goods and some are sourced locally and offer nothing less than premium quality food. “We get inspired by people and aspire to serve them the best; that’s how the first SANTIS Deli came up. The small factory of Euro-Swiss Food in Yakal Street, Makati City, was the first step in our marathon to serve the people in the metropolis suburbs once a week. In no time, the customers increased, and so did our production,” Werner Berger, CEO of Werdenberg Corporation Manila, and the moving spirit behind the SANTIS Deli’s success, said.
At the core of SANTIS Deli is quality and consistency. This explains that more than three decades after its inception, SANTIS has become a household name, having served countless families (and supplied quality meats to various luxury hotels and restaurants) with its 12 branches strategically located all over Metro Manila and nearby provinces, starting with their first and biggest outlet in Yakal Street in Makati. Over the years, SANTIS has evolved into a well-loved one-stop-deli-shop carrying over 4,500 items from dairy products (their plethora of imported cheeses is unmatched), dry products (beans, rice, dried fruits, and nuts), kitchen tools, fruits and vegetables, meat and fish, all kind of chorizos, hams, and sausages, and of course, wines and other beverages.
Its Certified Angus Beef Brand (sourced from the US) is a bestselling favorite for almost 35 years. “What makes our beef unique is the fact that it’s “custom aged” for a minimum of 45 days prior to delivering it to our customers, with the promise of an outstanding dining experience. Our company has also been recognized as the only licensed distributor in the Philippines. We also take pride of our very own Euro-Swiss locally manufactured sausages, ham, and cold-cuts. Our products are produced in traditional style using only the premium ingredients and free from artificial flavorings,” Werner enumerated.
This global healthcare has shaken up the business and consumer behavior, disrupted the supply chain in a massive scale, and even SANTIS Deli wasn’t spared to some degree. Thus, while SANTIS continually does good in their retail operations, they suffered the brunt of the lockdown in the wholesale side of the business as most of the hotels and restaurants they supply their meat products to have temporarily closed. To adapt to the shift in the business landscape, Werner confessed that there has not been a change in terms of operations and marketing, but they did adhere to all health security measures to ensure the safety of their clients and customers.
“As we all know, many companies have switched to working from home set up or through online, but we still maintain regular business to serve the needs of our customer. We also value and give importance to our hard-working employees and we did not terminate any of them since March 2020. We instead shifted them around the business which works well,” he explained. They have also strengthened their social media presence (@Santis Delicatessen) in the light of the lockdown, as customers have been ordering food for delivery via the online space, allowing their loyal patrons to savor gourmet quality food right at the comfort of their homes.
Like any business coping with the times and trend, the company has learned some lessons, too, mostly about crisis preparedness and developing contingency measures. What Werner has embraced is an admirable positivity and a sense of gratitude that allowed him to filter out some of the constant barrage of discouraging news and helped him steer the company through the difficult time. This is the kind of silver lining that in such situations, no one is ‘unaffected’, and they are all in this together.
“Let’s not focus on the negative effects of the pandemic but rather, let’s look on the brighter side and how the circumstance brought people closer together. We also have this realization that we should start appreciating the little things again, which we have taken for granted before,” Werner mused. “The most vital lesson that I have learned in running a business during this pandemic is that we should live with less comfort, and we should be ready to make sacrifices for the good of many.”
Werner agrees that we all should support local businesses. “Aside from having a positive mindset about our business, we should also support other local businesses to help them survive in this challenging time. In this way, we are also extending help to their employees so they can keep their job and means of living,” Werner encouraged.
SANTIS Deli is part of the Shop Small movement in the Philippines initiated by BDO and American Express. Shop Small aims to support local businesses as they are the backbone of the community and economy.
By supporting your favorite Shop Small merchant like SANTIS, you can earn 5X Rewards on purchases made using your BDO-issued American Express Card until June 30, 2021. Points earned can be used to redeem a reward of choice from a selection of gift certificates, gadgets, appliance, air miles, and more. American Express Shop Small has a roster of participating merchants including retail stores for gadgets, technology, hobbies, entertainment, health, wellness and beauty, fashion, lifestyle, and even restaurants located in over 1,000 locations around Metro Manila.
When you shop local using your American Express Card, you play a big part in supporting your community and helping businesses not only survive…but really thrive.
To know more about the American Express Shop Small movement, visit Shop Small | American Express Philippines. /GC
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