Why Carinderia Businesses Fail and How You Can Avoid the Same Experience

When managed properly, an eatery business like a carinderia can thrive and grow in a few years of operation. But it’s already a given that a carinderia business constantly faces challenges such as supply chain disruptions, safety issues, and staff turnover. Failure to address them will answer the question: why carinderia businesses fail.

An informal survey about the neighborhood canteen can glean on a few of the cracks that can grow big if not attended to soon. Some of the issues that can lead to failure in the business can be attributed to the following.

There are unresolved issues with the menu

The heart and soul of the carinderia business is the menu it offers to customers. Depending on the strategy employed and target audience, deciding on the menu is also heavily influenced by the availability of raw materials and profitability. Does your carinderia have few but solid items in the menu that customers repeatedly order because of its consistent taste and attractive price point? Or do you have the element of surprise with regular specials that keep regulars coming back? There must be a fine balance between a few items that identify with your eatery and the variety of options that cater to a wider customer base.

Some dishes are more expensive to produce. Even if they get sold out quickly, they may also take a longer time to prepare, so it accounts for labor expenses.

Is the menu presented in an attractive manner? Do you have attractive photos to give justice to the tasty meals your kitchen produces or text descriptions that let customers imagine what these menu items look like? Does it include gluten-free or vegan options for those with specific nutritional requirements?

If the price is good and the taste is excellent, are customers happy with the serving size? Do you shrink the size of serving or announce price adjustment to account for inflation and the rising cost of carinderia operation?

Customers might be paying a small amount but end up ordering more. At the end of the day, do you keep track of how much food is unsold and chucked into the bin? The worst thing that can happen is to discard a perfectly edible food because it gets overlooked by more popular dishes. Discarded food also translates to losses that must be minimized to keep the business going.

Some carinderias can’t keep up with the leftover menu that which contributes to negative cash flow.

Potential solutions:

  • Reduce wastage by offering discounted prices at cutoff hours before food spoils
  • Offer a better price for take-away food, if it drastically reduces overhead costs (dishwashing, table cleaning, serving)
  • Offer package of two or more dishes + rice + drink at an attractive price as an additional menu item

The service is less customer-centered

The food may be tasty, table settings impeccable, but if the attendants are surly and unapproachable, customers will highlight this.

Happy customers return to a carinderia with staff that’s happy to serve them. They may be tired and busy, but if they still manage to smile at clients, that’s a great customer service experience for you.

It is then important to instill the value of customer service as it reflects the reputation for the business and those who run it. Every contact your staff makes with customers must be pleasant, welcoming, and accommodating. If they have any unpleasant experience, they may not show derision towards staff but they could leave a negative review online. A video blogger may recount that negative experience and share the story to his or her subscribers, creating an unfavorable reputation for your carinderia.

The more negative posts people see about your eatery’s arrogant staff, the more customers are discouraged from trying to taste your food and skip your restaurant in favor of a nearby alternative.

Potential solutions

  • Teach staff the value and importance of common courtesy and basic manners towards customers.
  • Indicate to staff that they are protected and will be defended against unpleasant customers who may verbally abuse your staff.
  • Listen to staff and know the reasons behind the pouty attitude; they may just be overworked and need a break.

The marketing method is traditional and old-fashioned

Traditionally, carinderia businesses rely on word of mouth. The happiest customers preach the goodness of your restaurant, touting the humble eatery as underrated and a must-visit. But as more eateries compete for attention, great tasting dishes are not enough to entice strangers to make a random visit and try your freshly cooked delicacies.

The limited market you have may dwindle if they find better (cheaper, more accessible, better tasting, etc) alternatives. Promoting your carinderia business should expand beyond the neighborhood.

Travelers or tourists who happen to make a stopover nearby might use their phones to search for a nearby eatery. If your carinderia isn’t listed in Google, it could miss out on potential customers hungry for a hot plate of steamed rice with beef asado or dinuguan. It’s not enough that your business is listed, it must also have a complete address and contact details, a menu list, and a food gallery sampling of your typical dishes.

Potential solutions

  • Setup online presence on Facebook or Google Business Profile with up-to-date menu items, photos, and user reviews.
  • Invite customers who are visibly impressed with the food and service to leave a review as they head to the exit. Have a mounted iPad ready for them to log in to their account so they can enter their glowing review. A sample list of review entries they can copy would be helpful, too (of course they decide what to write).