After launching their KAFF store a few weeks before the COVID-19 global lockdown. Former ex-pat-founded Filipino café shares its journey, including all the bumps along the way.
2020 may have devastated the restaurant industry around the globe. Still, entrepreneurs Cris & Chie Miranda and their daughter Rian Miranda keep their passion brewing professionally and personally.
Cris flew to the Middle East in the mid-1980s. With his personal goals and dreams of a better life for his family. With a heavy heart, he left Chie and their two young children in Manila because it wasn’t possible for him to bring them at the time.
Like most responsible family-oriented men who endeavor to provide the best life for his wife and children, Cris braved all the challenges he faced. Including working for a company that abuses staff compensation and not seeing his family for 2 years. After coping with such a harrowing experience, he was able to move to a better company. 3 years later, he brought Chie and their two children to reside in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, post-Gulf War.
The Miranda Family proudly showcases the fruits of their years of working overseas.
They say a good wife brings stability to a man’s life, and Chie deeply supports Cris. As they worked together as a team in fulfilling their shared aspirations for their family. Since jobs for women in Saudi Arabia in the early 1990s were limited to teaching, administrative, and nursing, Chie initially started working as a Music teacher at international schools.
For over three decades, Cris and Chie were residents of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, raising their children from their early childhood. In 2016, Cris received recognition from Illustrado Magazine as among the 100 Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf. And a multiple Exemplary Awardee for being an outstanding leader in Finance in Saudi Arabia’s award-winning naval company that is part of championing the Kingdom’s strategic transformation. Chie retired as an Administrative Manager from King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre, Saudi Arabia’s highly specialized medical institution engaged in worldwide research and clinical studies.
Rian has a strong background in multi-cultural executive administration, culinary arts, information technology and received international business training in communication and etiquette. She is also a published writer, food stylist, and photographer and provided support to the cosmopolitan business clientele in luxury retail and upscale food & beverage brands. The family is part of the movement in the Gulf region that advocates for the world-class Filipinos in the global diaspora.
The road to entrepreneurship hasn’t been totally smooth for the family, though. KAFF was just launched two weeks before the COVID-19 outbreak. Which forced everybody in the world to halt business operations for months and stay at home. The family and their team have swiftly adapted their company to a brave new normal. Sadly, they had to cut down their manpower. It took them some time again with restructuring, securing financials, and acquiring team members for the modified KAFF to take shape.
“When we were starting, we all agreed to find the right people,” says Cris. “We need team members who understand that this is a venture built with mutual passion and purpose,” Rian added. “Every member of our present team is excited for every milestone we hit. We have reached this point because of absolute teamwork and commitment from each staff member and our advisors. Empathy is essential to all of us,” said Chie.
Overseas Filipinos are mostly seen as only playing supporting roles. KAFF changes the game by being an internationally founded Filipino-owned food & lifestyle business. The Mirandas have upended the café-loving enthusiasts in South Luzon with a simple premise. It is more than just a café where everyone would feel nurtured at the same time. The family credits most of their inspiration from their experience living outside the Philippines and their fondness for travel.
Coffee shops are just as essential as everyone’s hairdressers and even malls nowadays. No longer are coffee shops a luxury because now they are a social experience, which KAFF embodies. The store is exclusively operating at Ayala Malls Solenad in Nuvali, Santa Rosa City of Laguna. It was featured by locally well-known Tiga South Ka Ba bloggers and in the Philippine Department of Tourism’s star-studded Christmas food exchange called “Kain Na! Food & Travel Festival” last December 2020.
Customer reviews have described KAFF as “a destination for comfort dining at a reasonable cost. That blends in a space that is conducive for studying, meeting, conversations that bridge connections and even intimate affairs.” To date, KAFF has not stopped pivoting to provide better offerings to their guests and staff. It seems to have become accustomed to the art of change, and the company is ready for challenges. “The theory of our country’s—and our personal–progressive evolution,” Rian says, “will always be part of our DNA.”
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