The family behind Jo’s Chicken Inato
Eighteen years and still counting.
That’s how long the Jo’s Chicken Inato has existed since couple Jesse and Josephine Bejar-Ng opened their first branch in Dumaguete.
Their famous chicken, whose name is inspired by the Cebuano word “inato” meaning, “aton-atong lang”, has enjoyed a good following because of its homestyle cooking.
|Jo's Chicken Inato|
The demand has led the couple to open another branch in Bohol. Then, more demands for the chicken dish in other parts of the country paved way for Jo’s Chicken Inato restaurant to become a family affair.
In Iloilo, the branches were founded by Josephine’s brother Nowell and his wife Regina while the branches in the Mindanao area are owned by their relatives.
“My mother Regina and my father Nowell are both hands-on in the business. In fact, when we started the business here in Iloilo City way back in 1992, my parents worked as the cashiers. They also did the marketing everyday. And since our house is just at the back of the restaurant, it was easier for them to manage the operation of the business,” Gheena Bejar, manager of the Jaro branch or Jaro Balay Manokan.
Their Quezon Street branch is managed by her brother Dennis.
“But just last year, because of the rise of different competitors, we ventured into franchising. The family decided to engage in this new outlook for the business to cope with the growing market of the franchising industry,” Bejar said.
They now have branches in Roxas City, Mandaue in Cebu, Cebu City, Minglanila, Lapulapu City, Tagbilaran, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, Ormoc, Tacloban, Siquijor, Canlaon, Dipolog and Palawan.
Meanwhile, the Jaro branch pays respect to the chicken that brought success to the family. The restaurant is surrounded by figures of chicken that Josephine and Regina bought from every place they visited here and abroad. “They said, without chicken, we wouldn’t be where we are now,” Bejar revealed.
She added that Ilonggos have responded well to the new look of their Jaro branch.
“As I was randomly talking with the customers, they said that the ambiance is very inviting especially at night. In fact, I could see old customers dining again and also first timers who were attracted with the new facade of Jo’s Inato. Indeed, ambiance is really a big factor in a restaurant’s success,” she added.
A family business that continues to thrive is a result of the combination of the wisdom and expertise of its founders and the energy of its younger members.
With a family tradition and loyal clientele in place, the younger family members are faced with the challenge of bringing the restaurant to the next level.
Bejar revealed that the family is eyeing an expansion by putting up two stores here and by penetrating the Luzon market through franchising.
“As a manager, I will see to it that all our products are of standard quality including their freshness and taste. And soon, we will be introducing new dishes. At the moment, our newest is the burger steak. It’s a must try also,” she said.
Their other food offerings are Pork Belly, Pork Barbecue, Burger Steak, Crispy Fried Chicken, Bangus, Hamburger, Macao Canton, Bihon Guisado, Pancit Guisado, Chopseuy Guisado, Adobong Kangkong, Chicken Skin, Chicken Liver Adobo, Calamares, Manok sa Buko, Sinigang na Isda, Sinigang Boneless Bangus, Sotanghon, Chicken Tinola and many more. All these come with unlimited rice.
They are also constantly innovating. We are creating a new modern feel but with some native accents in our upcoming branches. We have also improved our system in order to achieve over-all business efficiency, she said.
Jo’s Chicken Inato is also taking its corporate social responsibility seriously by: one, making sure that the environment is protected through a proper waste management and two, feeding the street children of Iloilo City yearly.
Just like the perfect blending of their chicken, Bejar said their family’s success is a blend of hard work, passion in running a restaurant business that has provided them with loyal customers and “our dear Lord who have been behind us since then.”* (Kathy Villalon, The News Today, Oct. 12, 2012 issue)