Running a carinderia (restaurant) in the backyard

Nobody can miss it: The vibrant orange extension of the house in Masambahin corner Mapagkawanggawa Streets in Teachers Village East. The place does not even have a signage, just two banners — one says Pinggan #25 Food House; the other proclaims the place’s best sellers — lumpiang ubod and other home-cooked specialties.
The neighborhood restaurant, a dream of Ana Jose, business administration graduate of Miriam College, has been around since Aug. 21, 2001.
The homey restaurant can seat 20 indoors and 30 in the open area. Here, neighboring residents, NGO office workers and other nearby office workers drop by for a hot lunch Mondays to Saturdays except holidays. But it is in the delivery service that Pinggan is known for.
Pinggan delivers, cash-on-delivery (COD), phoned-in orders within Teachers Village, UP Village and Sikatuna for free. At first delivery was on foot, then by bike and now by motorcycle. Delivery time is from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
There is a minimum of P100 worth of orders for deliveries, but this rule is not followed, Ana admits. Even one or two dishes are delivered as long as it’s on the way to other deliveries.
Being a neighborhood restaurant, Ana uses affordable pricing. Fish like tilapia and galunggong, and everyday vegetables like kalabasa and sitaw go for P25. Beef, pork and chicken regularly go for P40 per serving, more for specialty shellfish or meats like grilled lomot (P70), grilled stuffed bangus (P90), callos (P55), kare-kare (P75) and lengua (P65).
Most of Pinggan’s customers are senior citizens, neighbors and friends of Ana’s parents, Majo and Rey Jose who are active members of the Church and barangay. The majority are couples who now have an empty nest and find cooking for two no longer viable. But there are families too who place their orders including their children’s school lunch boxes.
Every day there are about 10 dishes to choose from. There is always fish, beef, pork, chicken and vegetables, and sisig, which is in great demand everyday. Saturdays, when Pinggan is open only half day, there is less variety unless there are orders for the weekend.
To ensure consistency in the servings, the food is weighed (as in arroz caldo), or a slice/piece counted. A serving of chicken, for example, would consist of three pieces of chicken.
Ana started with a loan of P150,000 from her mom, P50,000 from her dad, and about $200 from paternal aunts abroad. The main building which holds five square monoblock tables for four, is an extension from the Jose house. It is here where the food is served.
The kitchen, a bright yellow, and the roofed, tiled outdoor extension for 30 diners sits on Ana’s Tita Cha Oloroso’s adjoining lot for free. Together, the two properties total about 500 square meters.
To enhance the restaurant’s appeal Ana makes use of tropical colors — vibrant orange for the outside walls, blue and lime indoors, and matching blue and lime plaid tableclothes. Mementos from Ana’s working cruises — a framed embroidery from Guatemala and a terra cotta wall hanging from Venezuela — adorn the walls.
The tropical scheme is carried in the outdoor extension with bright orange walls, lime posts, matching yellow-orange-red plaid tablecloths. Painting was a do-it-yourself job with the staff last Holy Week break.
The place is not air-conditioned but the dining areas are amply ventilated with electric fans. And the outdoor greenery adds to the cooling effect.
Today, Ana also does food catering and again her best advertisement is by word of mouth from satisfied customers. A minimum of 15-20 is all that’s needed. Last Christmas, they had an order of 600 packed lunch boxes for an NGO.
Pinggan’s staff is made up of six stay-in employees who get free room and board. The cook, Nanette, was Ana’s yaya for 20 years. When the Joses resigned from their jobs, they had to let Nanette go. Nanette went to the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines where she learned to cook for a crowd. She heads the Pinggan staff with “Kamaganak Inc.”
From Pinggan’s earnings, Ana pays for the groceries and utilities of the Jose household of five. Plus the family’s lunch and dinner, and the staff’s, too.
Lucky for Ana to find the opportunity to make her dream come true right in her backyard, so to speak.

– Excerpts from “Dream comes true in her backyard” by EC Estrada, published on page B1 of the November 19, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

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13 thoughts on “Running a carinderia (restaurant) in the backyard”

  1. Inspiring business story! How can I get in touch with Ana Jose so I can request from her some do’s and don’ts in putting up a similar business? I am an OFW and intends to run my own business next year.
    Thank you!

  2. I suggest you either contact the author of the PDI article or find the business’s phone number via the diretory. I don’t think Ana Jose’s information would be published online for privacy purposes.

  3. I don’t know if this a coincidence or not. I was thinking of business to start with and this food business is what exactly in my mind. Until the time i was browsing the internet, i came to this site. I was inspired, i am an OFW here in abroad and planning to stop for good. I have a small money,well bigger that what ana started but i dont know how to start.
    I hope you can (or anybody) can teach me how to start.
    Hope to hear from somebody.
    Thank You.

  4. galing nmn ni ana congrats! ako din kaka start pa lang ng carinderia actually this is our 4th day sadly ang benta nmin araw araw e 2000+ pero ang napapamili nmin araw araw e mahigit 1,800 kinabukasan meron parin nmn paninda na di pa naluluto kaso ang kita e maliit n lng kaya un pag namili kinabukasan un natira sa pinamalengke na pera e naidadagdag din para sa kinabukasan na pamalengke,ang nanay at tatay ko walang mga trabaho sila me pinapapaaral sila na 2 hi skul at isang elementary sila ang katulong ko sa carinderia at araw araw don narin kami kumukuha ng uulamin,ang hirap kc pare pareho kaming walang ibang income,,,,Ms. ana can you give me some tips and advice how to manage carinderia ang puhunan ko ay umabot sa 50k at umuupa pa ko ng 8k para sa pwesto.
    salamat at sana mabigyan mo ng time ang comment ko na to!!!

  5. im planning to make a fast food restaurant or a carinderia sana by 2014, ive been studying it since 2010, even though I really don’t have any actual business experience, I’ll make up for it with my research and ideas and planning, I was wondering if there are groups of community I can join? – Please email me at if you do know, 
    thank you!

  6. im planning to make a fast food restaurant or a carinderia sana by 2014, ive been studying it since 2010, even though I really don’t have any actual business experience, I’ll make up for it with my research and ideas and planning, I was wondering if there are groups of community I can join? – Please email me at if you do know, 
    thank you!

  7. Nakakapagod din ang mag Abroad,gusto nn makasama ang pamilya ko,gusto ko ding mag start ng business ,maliit na canteen ang naiisip ko,paano ako magsisimula,meron ba kayong alam na siminar online!gaya ng mga networking seminar patungkol sa carinderia? me,,,,,thanks

  8. Andere sparen ihre Pfennige das ganze Jahr lang, um einen sch?nen Weihnachts haben, weil sie glauben, dass Weihnachten ist alles, was sie kaufen k?nnen. Einige setzte alles auf Kredit, weil es so wichtig f?r sie.

  9. Me and my husband which is an Australian and owns a Franchise Business is actually putting up a “carinderia type” business here in Queensland. And this story is truly an added motivation for us.


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