BIZ BUZZ: Morton’s coming to PH | Inquirer Business

BIZ BUZZ: Morton’s coming to PH

/ 02:03 AM November 28, 2022

If the entry of premium steak houses were a barometer of rising consumer affluence, then the Philippines must be on the right path.

Morton’s The Steakhouse, a popular haven for carnivores in America, is soon coming to town. We heard that property giant Ayala Land had signed up Morton’s to open a dining space at Ayala Triangle Tower Two. This will just be Morton’s second market in Southeast Asia, after Singapore.


Morton’s opened its first restaurant in Chicago in 1978 and has since become a big chain in the United States serving prime aged steaks. The brand has expanded to international markets like Toronto and Mexico.

Elsewhere in Asia, Morton’s has a presence in Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taipei and Tokyo.


Morton’s was cofounded by Arnie Morton and Klaus Fritsch, who had both worked at the Playboy Club in Montreal. The late Arnie Morton, who came from a family of restaurateurs, was an associate of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. While the chain still carries his name, ownership of the brand had changed hands long ago. It is now owned by restaurant giant Landry’s, which is also into hospitality, entertainment and gaming businesses.

Judging by the difficulty booking tables at popular restaurants now that pandemic lockdowns are over, discerning consumers in the metropolis can only welcome more premium dining options with open arms, and mouths.

—Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

Worst and most stressful

The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) was tagged by global luggage storage app Bounce as the worst airport for business class travelers, receiving a score of 0.88 out of 10, back in May.

Months later, the country’s main international gateway is under scrutiny anew.

Just recently, Naia was named one of the “most stressful airports” in Asia (excluding Middle East and Central Asia) and Oceana by tourism blog Hawaiian Islands, which studied over 1,500 Google reviews in each airport.

Naia ranked third with a score of 57.81 percent in the region. Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Vietnam and Sydney Airport in Australia were top two with 60.13 percent and 58.98 percent, respectively.

Overall, the most stressful airport was United Kingdom’s Manchester Airport as 82.5 percent of its reviews indicated stress.


“Reviewers of this airport gripe most often about poor signage, the surcharge for public transit to and from the airport, added airport taxes and the airport curfew,” the blog noted.

With reviews like these, one might say the government has to immediately pursue the pending Naia rehabilitation project.

Meanwhile, the anticipated opening of other major gateways like those in Cavite and Bulacan is expected to decongest Naia, which can hopefully make it less “stressful.”

—Tyrone Jasper Piad

Tambuntings donate precious art

The Tambunting family added to the country’s fine arts collection when it turned over last week two precious works of art.

These are “The Bust of Antonio L. Tambunting” (2009, bronze) by National Artist Abdulmari Asia Imao, donated by Ambassador Jesus P. Tambunting and family, and “The Portrait of Aurora P. Tambunting” (1956, oil on canvas) by National Artist Fernando Amorsolo donated by the family of Antonio and Aurora Tambunting.

Patrons, friends and guests eagerly flocked to the Spoliarium Hall of the National Museum of Fine Arts to witness the ceremonial turnover of these works of art that the family shared with the nation.

“We at the National Museum, on behalf of a grateful nation, express our sincere appreciation to the Tambunting family for these invaluable gifts to the nation,” the agency said.

The Bust of Antonio Tambunting is exhibited at the Antonio and Aurora Tambunting Gallery entrance at the National Museum of Anthropology, while the Portrait of Aurora Tambunting may be viewed inside The Early 20th Century Philippine Portrait Hall of the National Museum of Fine Arts—two more reasons to visit these institutions.

—Tina Arceo-Dumlao

Warburg Pincus’ new guy

In the last five years, private equity firm Crescent Point has become one of the most active in the country under the auspices of industry veteran Martin Lichauco, investing in privately held companies such as Del Monte Philippines Inc. and Esquire Financing.

Lichauco, one of the first venture capitalists and private equity professionals in the country, has taken on a new role as Warburg Pincus’ full-time senior advisor for the Philippines. He is mainly responsible for identifying the next set of investments for the Wall Street-based growth investment firm in this part of the world.

Bullish on the prospects in Southeast Asia, Warburg Pincus has identified the Philippines as one of the most attractive markets in the region as illustrated by its two investments in the Philippines—a $250-million investment in Converge ICT and a $300-million investment in Mynt/GCash.

Right after graduating from the Ateneo de Manila University, Lichauco started his venture capital and private equity career at H&Q Asia Pacific, a division of US-based investment banking firm, Hambrecht & Quist. He then spent 12 years with Walden International.

It looks like Lichauco has found a firm where he’d like to spend the rest of his professional life until retirement.

Warburg Pincus, which has a wide latitude and deep pockets to pursue big-ticket deals, is a firm his late father, investment banker Eddie Lichauco, used to talk about and speak highly of.

—Doris Dumlao-Abadilla INQ
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