The ongoing pandemic has taken a toll on businesses worldwide, and the Philippines is no exception. Operational challenges, supply issues, and manpower limitations are just some of the problems that businesses face due to quarantine restrictions. Consumer behavior has changed as well, affecting both big and small companies.
Through their recent collaboration, the all-in-one productivity app, Lark, and entrepreneur, Erwan Heussaff, were able to provide some much-needed support for struggling business owners in Metro Manila through the Lark x The Fat Kid Inside campaign. Two community food businesses were chosen from a list of crowdsourced companies, as winners for this campaign. One of them is Pam’s Catering.
A Business Built on Serving the Community
Pam’s Catering started as a home based food business that delivered lunch meals to a nearby hospital with doctors, nurses and pharmaceutical representatives as their first customers. As their home cooked meals grew in popularity, the business expanded as well. From solo food orders, they began offering food trays, and eventually catering services to their clients.
The woman behind the business, and the delicious food, is 69-year old Malou Muncal, who started Pam’s Catering after she was widowed at a young age. Her passion for feeding people made getting into the food industry an easy decision for Malou. Pam Abueg, her daughter, says that every dish Malou makes is prepared with love, and that’s what sets them apart from others.
As a business-owner, Malou is hands-on, handling the menu planning, shopping, and cooking herself. She also believes in using her business to help others, which is why many of her staff members are residents of nearby communities in need of work.
Bayanihan Between Businesses
Before the pandemic hit, Pam’s Catering was doing well. However, because of COVID-19, they faced cancelled bookings and a loss of income. Business operations needed to be downsized, and Malou sold two of her delivery vehicles to stay afloat. Seeing her mom struggle, Pam nominated Malou’s business for the Lark x The Fat Kid Inside campaign, which she heard about from a relative. This was her way of helping her mom, who is always the one helping others.
After she was chosen as a winner, Malou, who has been feeding hard working members of the community for over three decades, welcomed the opportunity to continue doing so with open arms. All in all, Pam’s Catering prepared 1,500 food packs, which were shared with Citihub residents. Citihub is a local social enterprise that provides safe, clean, and affordable housing for low-income Filipino workers in key areas within Metro Manila.
Malou found joy in the experience, since cooking for so many people was reminiscent of a normal day in her business. She was glad for the chance to give back to others through her food, and pay it forward, after Pam’s Catering was helped by Erwan and Lark.
Adapting to the New Normal
Continuing operations is not easy for Malou right now, as she adheres to quarantine restrictions for senior citizens. Luckily, she and Pam learned how productivity apps like Lark can help them quickly adapt to this new normal. Going digital couldn’t be easier or more convenient than with Lark.
While she can’t be in the kitchen herself, Malou instructs her staff through video calls. This enables her to monitor the cooking and packing process, and ensure that they deliver the same quality they always have. A clear picture during conference calls is important for this, and Pam shares that the video quality of Lark, matched with a stable internet connection, adequately meets their needs.
Lark’s screen sharing feature has also been helpful whenever Pam needed to teach Malou how to use digital apps and tools, which their business now relies on. Online file sharing is done for their reports, and Lark makes sending and receiving important documents very convenient. Coordination with their staff is all virtual, and the team also interacts with clients online for orders and inquiries. Pam says that it is easy to see how they can continue to use Lark for their business, especially since the app is simple to use, even for Malou.
Malou believes that, in everything, it is important to keep moving forward, and there is a solution for every problem. Through the Lark x The Fat Kid Inside campaign, she and the staff of Pam’s Catering have been given a remedy for some troubles they recently faced as a business. Now, they are able to continue serving the community with food made from the heart - through a new digital normal not just for today but also for all their tomorrows.
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