Q&A with Bizu Catering Managing Director Audrey Tanco – Uy on Brand Extension

Bizu Patisserie is a chain of French and International culinary restaurants with a fine selection of retail products in the Philippines. Bizu Catering Studio brings the Bizu experience to special events of consumers and corporate clients. It’s managing director, Audrey Tanco-Uy, a Mansmith Young Market Masters Award (YMMA) winner of 2017, shares how the Bizu brand influences their customer engagement.

Q1: How does branding work between Bizu Patisserie and Bistro and Bizu Catering? Who benefits more from the other?

A: Each Bizu brand carries with it its own strengths. Like husband and wife, Bizu Patisserie and Bizu Catering Studio has lent to each other its own core competencies to deliver a complete imprint on customers’ minds.

Bizu Patisserie, the mother brand, with its 6 retail locations around the Metro, provides the brand assurance and recall. Known primarily to be the premiere Patisserie in the country, the outlets provide a staging ground for people to have a glimpse of our delicious food fare and technical prowess in the culinary and pastry stage. 15 years ago, Bizu shook Manila and told everybody that we are ready to look, feel and taste global. More than being known for its Macarons de Paris or its delectable French cakes, what enamored people to Bizu is the Romance of the brand. There is a lot of femininity and charm to it that it spoke to a lot of women. Bizu became a place to meet, connect, share, give and love.

Bizu Catering Studio borrowed the Romance of the Bizu brand and successfully scaled the business to a larger audience through events and occasions. It showed its prowess in service and delivery executions. People had a strong connection to the brand Bizu when they chose it for their weddings, corporate launches and light social events at home. It seemed to have echoed their personal ideals and to an extent, even their business’ brand ideals as Bizu became also the preferred choice to partner with when launching upscale brands here in the Philippines. But as a brand extension, Bizu Catering Studio had a reputation to uphold and it was very difficult initially because of the volume a catering service demands. Luckily, with a lot of our combined efforts, we were able to still deliver the brand promise. And because we were able to scale the brand outside the retail space, people flocked to the shops to reminisce the great experience they had from the event we catered.

I believe it is a great and mutually beneficial relationship.

Q2: Can you describe the Bizu brand?

A: Bizu was coined from the French word “Bisous”, which is the Filipino-Spanish version of “Beso”. This “Beso” or Kiss is such a powerful symbol in our culture. There is so much energy to it. We kiss our children, our parents, our grandparents, our friends, our acquaintances and yes, our romantic partners. The kiss is a symbol of a relationship forged. And in this relationship, there is so much respect, emotion, care and deep love that is carried along with it. This is what the brand lives for. All our products and services carry with it this certain warmth and romance. Everything you do with Bizu is a forging of a relationship. A bonding moment over coffee and cake. A doe-eyed child picking her favorite colored Macaron as she peers on the glass vitrine during a family luncheon. A cake delivered to a friend’s doorstep for her birthday. A wedding celebration. A family gathering. A romantic proposal over dinner. All these moments are what Bizu lives for.

Q3: How do you recruit and train people to align with your brand?

We tell them about our legacy and what they will be upholding. We talk to them about our brand values that center around deep love and respect for each other.

A: First off, we start by looking for people who smile a lot and who are not shy to give a lot of themselves. They have to exude an aura of positivity and good vibes. The energy they have is passed on to the customers. We tell them that when faced with uncertain guest situations, to always bear in mind that they have to put themselves in the shoes of the customer. Skills are easy to teach, but attitude will clearly set the staff above the rest.

Q4: Who are your customers? Why do they tap Bizu Catering, not other catering providers?

A: Our customers don’t want to compromise anything. They have given a lot of themselves- be it at work or in their family life, and they want to be taken cared of. I see Bizu as a feminine entity centering around the concepts of “nurture and nourish”. The host or hostess wants to celebrate and bond with people they love and appreciate, and they do not want to be hassled anymore. They want the best for those they care for. They want beautiful food and heart-ful service. Perhaps our values mirror theirs.

Q5: What are the challenges in Bizu Catering that are different from a restaurant?

A: Location, location, location!
Being an off-premise company, we are always on the move everyday. To us, there is never a dull day. Location is one of the greatest challenges we face. Carrying our equipment to places near and far. Wide spaces, narrow spaces, working in tents, working under the sun without tents, up a building, through winding paths, we have to be as quick to respond and to be as versatile as possible. And despite the difficulties the location provides us, we still need to deliver our customer promise. In the catering business, we had to get used to the concept of uncertainty and variability. Today we serve for 100 persons, tomorrow for 1000. There is so much planning, adjustment-handling, team work and problem solving involved that it takes a lot of hard core guts to be in this industry. With a brand to uphold, the challenge is even greater.

Q6: What are your most challenging catering assignments so far?

A: Volume caterings with the idea of “premium-ness” is the most challenging for me. We have catered for 6,000 persons for SGV’s anniversary at the SMX and they challenged us because their guests were all VIPs (as always, every Bizu event is always a VIP event anyway). We had to maintain top quality despite the volume. And we all know how difficult that can get. We had to be strict with timings to maintain the dignity of every dish. We had to be laser focused on tasks at hand. We had to manage a staff of 500 people on that day. It was memorable.

But to this day, weddings are always the most challenging events for me. There is so much detail and intricacies tied to them. We make sure our brides are comfortable with us from day one in event detailing. Weddings are also the most emotional. Their requests can be easy and can also be difficult. We catered a 500 pax wedding in Zamboanga and to transport everything and everyone was such a major feat. But accepting these challenges head on made our company stronger. Today, there is nothing we believe that we cannot do. When we receive difficult assignments, our team loves the challenge. They tell me: “Bring it on!!”.

(Winners of Mansmith Young Market Masters Awards can be read at www.youngmarketmasters.com)

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