Beyond five stars: These food establishments thrived amid COVID-19 pandemic

February 1, 2021 - 7:21 PM
This composite photo shows the best-selling fried chicken of 24 Chicken and the Ube pandesal of Mark & Grace Bakeshop. (Facebook/24 Chicken; Facebook Mark & Grace Bakeshop)

The food and beverage industry was among the industries that bore the brunt of COVID-19’s economic consequences.

Several establishments were forced to closed as dine in was prohibited by the national government during the first few months of the pandemic and amid the implementation of enhanced community quarantine in March last year.

Despite this, several establishments still thrived in the so-called new normal and adapted to the demand of take-out and food delivery service.

In view of this, a food delivery service firm honored five outstanding partner-restaurants that “embody the inspiring Filipino traits of determination and resilience” in Foodpanda’s “Pandawards.”

“Cooking and concocting something new is a way of life for food and beverage businesses, but the recent year proved to be a test of their character that was beyond their comfort zone,” Daniel Marogy, Foodpanda Philippines’ managing director said.

“Through pandawards, we are able to highlight inspiring figures whose hard work, creativity, and positive attitude led to their success. Their stories are an inspiration for homegrown and start-up brands in fighting and winning in the business,” he added.

In true food delivery fashion, the awards were also delivered to the winners in their establishments.

G Who and Zyberus of Filipino beatbox group Microphone Mechanics, disguised as food delivery riders out to pick up orders, before dropping the beat in an impromptu awarding ceremony at the winning establishments.

Here are the establishments that prospered amid the pandemic which were also high-rated by Filipino customers:

24 Chicken

Best-selling Korean fried chicken chain 24 Chicken ranked as one of the highest-rated restaurants on food panda with an average of 4.682 stars. In view of this, it was awarded the “Summa Cum Panda Award.”

This business was started by its owner Jeff Sy in 2017. He was then a one-man team who did all the cooking and deliveries before his business became a smash-hit success.

The joint is known for its affordable best-selling the Jack Daniel’s Chicken or boneless deep-fried chicken tossed in a special Jack Daniel’s sauce.

“[We are] very grateful for this award. We will continue to strive harder to bring the best quality and service to our customers,” Sy said.

Mark & Grace Bakeshop

Another business that started in 2017 is Mark & Grace Bakeshop that began with simple pandesal offerings before it diversified its product portfolio with special pastries.

The bakeshop was eventually known for its hopia ube topped with sesame seeds, huge Spanish bread and fried ube, among other treats. Because of these, the bakeshop bagged the “Sarap na Binabalik-Balikan Award” as customers kept coming back for its products.

EmoTEAra Cafe

On the other hand, the food delivery service firm granted its partner-restaurant “EmoTEAra Café” the “Go Forth and Multiply” Award as it is among with the biggest franchise expansion in recent months.

Its milk tea blended with the Filipinos’ “hugot” culture that make it to great success.

The milk tea shop only had a single store in March but it now has 20 branches.

Jeffrey Jimenez, gather café’s owner said he made sure to help his family and friends during the roughest stretch of the pandemic last year by giving them branches of his business.

Jackson’s Fried Chicken

Aside from 24 Chicken, Jackson’s Fried Chicken also satisfied the Filipinos’ cravings for fried chicken. It is best known for its crispy and juicy chicken popcorn and its Pinoy spaghetti version which earned it the “Diskartepreneur Award.”


Lastly, Yumzie that offers a variety of snacks from siomai to shanghai, fries to smoothies and other affordable snacks won the “Juan for All, All for Juan” Award for nurturing camaraderie in its business.

“A strong sense of camaraderie defines the working relationship of employees for Yumzie,” the awarding body food delivery service firm said. —Rosette Adel