Sunday, November 18, 2007


This is one thing that I have been putting off from writing, but like I promised in my blog (, I will tell the truth no matter how much it hurts and whoever it hurts.

But this truth is far painful because it involves us and our business, the Satti Grill House. For six months now, we have been bleeding from our operations at the SM-Fairview Food Court. For six months now, we have been paying the rent, electric and water bills, the salaries of our employees -- most of whom come from Mindanao -- without a centavo of profit.

Now you may say that these loses are normal for new businesses, but in our case the loses are just so insanely big that we now feel as if the task of portraying Zamboanga City, Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi as being places not just known for the Abu Sayyaf, but for their rich diversity of food has become too burdensome.

Too late we realized that good intentions alone – give employment and scholarship to our relatives from the South, project Mindanao as a place of rich food, cement Christian-Muslim ties – are not enough to make a business click.

Too late we have realized that maybe there is not much market for satti or that people from Zamboanga City, Basilan and Sulu are not that excited to share satti with their friends here.

Too late we have realized that we were wrong in thinking that fellow satti lovers would wholeheartedly throw their support behind us in helping spread the good news about satti to their friends here and thereby ensure that Satti Grill House would remain for long in the SM-Fairview outlet.

Too late we have realized that the Muslims we counted on to patronize the first Halal outlet in the SM chain of malls are not there. Our feedback form shows Muslims comprise only 10 percent of our customers. For long we have fended off suggestions to sell pork to make the business viable, but now we are having second thoughts.

To see the dream of putting the flag of a truly original food from Zamboanga City, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi in the list of the best foods in the country fading is so painful both to our emotion and our wallets.

So after five months of declining sales and ever-increasing rent and other fees imposed by Mr. Henry Sy, we have decided to close down our SM-Fairview outlet by January or February if sales do not improve. Fellow businessmen advice us to close at the end of November and we find the advice very practical, but then we are such a bunch of bleedings hearts and we cannot bear to see our employees flown and shipped from Mindanao go jobless.

To all of you who have been supporting us, thanks a lot for helping show us a glimmer of hope that satti or Halal food can survive in the SM malls.

Do enjoy satti in SM-Fairview for our remaining months in operation. We will just advice you of the opening of new Satti Grill House outlets in Manila and Makati (Just log on to for updates).

Gracias con vosotros todo!!!


  1. Huwag muna kayong magsara! Hindi pa ako nakaka-kain diyan.

    Also, maybe your experience in SM Fairview is telling you that you should look for a different location.

    By the way, Intramuros is opening itself up again the way it did when Senator Gordon was still Tourism Secretary. It seemed like a very good market to me and it is near Quiapo where there is a big Moslem community. Even if you don't have many Moslem customers, there are plenty of students there and there is also a regular flow of tourists.

    Just trying to help.

  2. i'm sorry that business hasn't been very good at your SM Fairview outlet. as i am sure you know, risks are essential parts of entrepreneurship. personally though, i dont think you could blame zc people, muslims and your other target market for your loss. you should realize that the product you are offering is something unusual in metro manila. better publication or a less riskier place could have helped. anyway, i hope to visit your manila branch some time.

  3. Thanks for the concern Paul, but we have decided to fight it out for the long haul. We have realized that this is really what business is all about -- risks. So just because there is slow start, it does not mean it will stay that way for long. Besides, problems are there to challenge us to find solutions and we are doing that right now. Satti in SM is here to stay!

  4. And as to me other friend who was kind enough to leave a comment in this blog, I thank you amigo for your honesty in saying that it was wrong for me to blame people from our place. You are definitely right. This was a colossal mistake on our part, as you know this has been our first foray into the food business (we have long been in the used case business where things were a bit easier for us). So ngayon, both in our SM and M.H. del Pilar outlets, we have made popular pork-less food like chicken sisig, grilled pusit etc. as the star attraction and that has saved the day for us. As you rightly pointed out, satti is a new product and we have to give it sometime to ``break in'' as a gastronomic interest to the palates of people here in Metro Manila. Thanks a lot for your concern!

  5. Medyo matagal na pala itong post na itong hindi na uupdate. Open pa ba kayo sa SM fairview or MH. del Pilar?

  6. Hi, sory for the late reply. Yes, we're still open in SM-Fairview Food Court. But we closed down our Manila outlet coz we're applying at other SM outlets. Do visit us in Fairview.