“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…” Zechariah 4:10
This verse has been my inspiration when I first started the Litehouse Diner.
In January 2013, thankful for surviving a rough 2012, I was left with two little daughters who depended solely on me- an unemployed, financially broke, separated, and emotionally unprepared to face the seemingly insurmountable burden of the mysterious future (sigh!) I had countless sleepless nights, just thinking and catching myself staring blankly at the ceiling, reassessing my past decisions…I did not want to believe I was depressed because I needed to be strong not to keep my sanity intact, but for my Julia and Jaimie who also needed to draw strength from me, because there was no one else for them to depend on.
It was a trying season, I needed to earn something to support my kids with, I had two months until my cousin, who owns the house I was living in was arriving from the States and I had to move out.
I cannot afford living my kids at home at that time and work 8 hours straight in a regular job.
I have always believed that I thrive in pressure, and that my brain works more effectively at a state where there is a need to beat the deadline. That was me, in high school, in college, in school…but never in my married and family life. Everything changed… until the time when my eldest asked to eat out at a popular fast food chain and I cannot afford to buy her even a box of spaghetti because our budget did not have a spare for it. As a mother, it was hard for me not to give my daughter’s simple request.
So, on January 25, 2013, I decided to do something and list down all the things that was left from the garage sale from last year. The desktop computer, internet and pan grill were the few necessary things I needed to start something. I already have the basic recipe for a Beef Patty from a friend. I just had to tweak it to fit the Pinoy taste. I started asking friends to taste my burgers, the first Litehouse Diner Gourmet Burgers, made from the finest and freshest ingredients in my city. I started with a capital investment of Php 1,000.00
I called a few close friends who were willing to try my burgers and set up a Facebook page and invited them to like it. It was for order-for-delivery only. I was surprised that it made good at the first month, although we have our “ups and downs” in sales, but God never failed and has been faithful to strengthen me.
These are the burger products we came up with through months of innovating and tweaking:
1. Litehouse Diner Original Gourmet Burger – made with 100% Pure Beef Patty on fresh lettuce, tomato and cucumber slices, with original Litehouse Diner burger dressing in a freshly baked bun.
2. Bacon Burger – The Original Gourmet Burger with locally made bacon.
3. Jalapeno Burger – The Original Gourmet Burger with Mexican Jalapeno Peppers for those who would want the burger hot and spicy. It’s the burger with a kick
4.Jucy Lucy – this patty has oozing cheese in it. I came up with a warning which has been a very effective marketing strategy since, “Warning: Scalding cheese inside and may ooze on the first bite.”
5. Deep-Fried-Wrapped Burger. We had a sales decline in October 2013 and I panicked. Instead of lowering my prices, I travelled to get the new trends in the food business, and finally decided to try this. And it was a big hit on its first month and until now.
We have innovated more from Carbonara Balls (Deep Fried Carbonara and Cheese Balls); Garlicky Bacon and Mushroom Carbonara, Tomato and Basil Pasta, Baby Back Ribs and Beef Ribs and we’re still inspired to do more.
This journey has not been very easy but He has shown me that He will never leave me nor forsake me despite of my shortcomings. I have gone through many emotional trials and testings along the way but I know my God is greater than any of these and He will always see me through.
“May the space where I am before and now and the where I want to be inspire me.”