Amid the challenges faced by MSMEs in the past years, there were inspiring stories of businesses that evolved by revamping their strategies and finding ways to bring in new revenue.

One of these is Angrydobo, owned by actress-chef-entrepreneur Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo and her husband Ryan Agoncillo. Angrydobo is a three-year-old restaurant whose main recipe is the product of an LQ (love quarrel) between the two. They opened their second branch in Westgate Alabang in 2020.

Francis helps demonstrate how Ryan Agoncillo starts off their online selling show, Sunday Market Live.

Judy Ann recently shared her journey in “At your SerBIZ!,” an online show hosted by award-winning author and speaker Francis Kong. “At your SerBIZ!” provides valuable business tips and inspiration to MSMEs by discussing different challenges and how to address them.

In this candid interview, Judy Ann talked about the different challenges their business faced through the years and how these paved the way for bigger and better opportunities. She also talked about the strategies they adopted to survive so that they could say, “atin ang tuloy-tuloy na success.”

Challenge #1: Fear of failure
Judy Ann’s secret recipe: I sought a strong support system

The fear of failure haunts many aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners. If left unaddressed, it can hold anyone back from starting a business, or it can stall a company’s progress.

Judy Ann, who initially had doubts about venturing into the food business, highlighted the importance for aspiring and present business owners to have a strong support system. She found hers in Ryan, who not only supported her emotionally but also boosted her confidence to keep going.

Kayang-kaya mo ‘yan!” was the simple yet powerful phrase Ryan uttered that helped convince the actress to start Angrydobo.

Challenge # 2: Disagreement with business partner
Judy Ann’s secret recipe: We kept communication lines open

Like any close relationships, conflicts and disagreements are expected to arise in any business partnership. As someone working closely with her husband in running Angrydobo, Judy Ann had her fair share of issues.

Kailangan may tiwala ka sa business partners mo,” Judy Ann advised.

Among the problems that she and Ryan encountered was deciding whether they should let go of an original ingredient from their menu. They managed to settle the problem after having a serious discussion wherein they actively listened to each other’s points.

Judy Ann’s now-famous adobo recipe is a product of a lovers’ quarrel between her and Ryan.

Challenge # 3: Negative feedback
Judy Ann’s secret recipe: We created a strategic response

A single bad review from a customer can make small business owners feel that their sales will plummet, but it’s not uncommon to receive negative feedback from time to time. After all, even the most famous restaurants and popular items receive several negative reviews.

The good thing is, strategic response to negative feedback can help customers better understand the products or services, as well as improve company-customer relationship, Judy Ann said.

On her personal experience managing Angrydobo, Judy Ann shared: “Sabi ng iba maalat, sabi naman ng iba maasim, sabi naman ng iba, matamis. So, okay, ano ba talaga, maalat, maasim o matamis? Ano ba talaga, besh?”

In response, the actress explained the menu to their customers to help them understand the reason for its taste.

Challenge # 4: Manpower problems
Judy Ann’s secret recipe: We are always considerate to our staff

Because of the pandemic, business owners like Judy Ann ran into manpower problems because some employees either got sick or had to permanently leave. As a business owner, she noted the importance of being considerate to employees and understanding where they are coming from.

To help the staff who were left to work in the restaurant, Judy Ann would personally show up and report to the kitchen. Citing the famous saying, Judy Ann said: “Sa iksi ng kumot, matutong bumaluktot.”

Challenge # 5: Unforeseen circumstances like COVID-19 pandemic
Judy Ann’s secret recipe: We keep innovating and stay in step with digital trends

Since the pandemic, many businesses struggled to survive with reduced revenue and changing customer buying patterns. Judy Ann’s business was among those heavily affected in many ways, from slow-moving supplies to lack of repeat orders.

To keep up with the changing times, Judy Ann shared that it is important to innovate and maximize the use of digital trends, such as selling online. Judy Ann created new recipes for Angrydobo and started selling what she calles “Sunday ulam,” or what you would buy for your family on a Sunday. In Sunday Market Live, their online selling show, Ryan leads the live selling while Judy Ann is the one responsible for research, development, and costing.

“It’s actually a very fun run. Nararamdaman namin yung mga tao, gumigising talaga nang maaga kasi interactive siya,” said Judy Ann. These online followers have turned into regular customers, some of whom live abroad and order for their families here in the Philippines.

The struggle is real, isn’t it? Even celebrities go through normal people’s problems, especially when it comes to running a business. Catch the full episode with Judy Ann and hear more of her stories here:

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