Almost every industry has been impacted by COVID-19, particularly food and beverage businesses which were greatly affected by lockdowns and stay-at-home notices. In the Philippines, famously successful Cafe Mary Grace- like its peers- took a hit as the pandemic spread, causing the brand to pause operations.
Despite being unprepared for the uncertainty brought about by the pandemic, Cafe Mary Grace and its management continued looking for alternative means to serve its loyal patrons. One of the first and most critical steps was to partner with Grab, Southeast Asia’s leading superapp, and become a member of the GrabFood Signatures’ merchants.
A step towards digitalization
With Cafe Mary Grace still very much a family business today, with the second generation closely involved in the business, the team soon recognized that taking the business digital was the natural next step for growth. And it was Jose Carlo Calaquian, head of Operations of Cafe Mary Grace, (and son-in-law of the founder and the brains behind the cafe) who led the restaurant’s partnership with GrabFood, with the hopes of bringing cafe’s beloved and comforting meals to more Filipinos, who have had to stay at home due to the pandemic.
In May 2020, Cafe Mary Grace officially made its menu available online through GrabFood, allowing the brand to not just maximize its services, but also greatly expand their market. And upon joining the platform, the brand immediately experienced a rise in the volume of food orders, further illustrating the enthusiasm they continue to get from their loyal customers, and even support from new ones.
But as challenging as it was to handle an influx of food delivery orders, this only motivated Cafe Mary Grace to continue innovating and finding efficient ways to serve customers in the comfort of their homes.
“We really value the partnership that GrabFood continues to offer us. It really is more than just a client-customer relationship. Grab has pushed us to be better in terms of our food delivery service while still guiding and supporting us every step of the way,” said Calaquian.
Increased online presence
As the lockdown progressed, more Filipinos took to staying at home for their safety, as well as relying heavily on online platforms for their daily essentials and food orders; and with this increased activity at home came more opportunities for businesses, such as Cafe Mary Grace to stay relevant and enable them to connect with their customers.
For Cafe Mary Grace, this is where GrabFood was able to support the brand and help them in becoming relevant to online consumers. Apart from its reach on its own social media platforms, the increased presence the platform provided helped raise awareness about the brand and drive sales. This inspired the brand to even be an exclusive merchant with GrabFood, becoming a member of the platform’s ‘Signatures’ brand, hosting restaurants that are available for delivery only on GrabFood.
As a member of the program, Cafe Mary Grace receives different perks and benefits through in-app promos, which their customers can maximize to purchase their favorite orders from the restaurant and enhance their dining experience with Cafe Mary Grace. And apart from reaching regular patrons, it was also able to tap into a new market amongst the younger market, which helped Cafe Mary Grace see their daily sales double in growth.
With its presence on the platform, Cafe Mary Grace has since been able to reconnect with their customers, allowing them to serve the goodness of home for which they have long been known and spread joy and warmth through their home-cooked meals and baked goods, be it for birthday celebrations or small get-togethers.
“GrabFood really helped change the game during this period of transition to the next normal, by assisting not only Mary Grace, but a lot of businesses in the food industry reach and serve customers amidst the various different lockdowns. GrabFood helped not only us, but also our customers by connecting them to us,” said Calaquian.
Bouncing back and expanding
Having successfully set a strong presence in the online sphere, Cafe Mary Grace sees an opportunity to bounce back from turbulent times and continue delivering great service and great food to as many customers as possible.
As the country slowly tries to find its footing during this uncertain time, the business is also optimistic it will soon be fully operational again and grow in other markets especially across Visayas and Mindanao in order to not just reach more Filipinos, but provide them with delight and comfort the best way the family business has always known how – through food.
Enjoy the taste of home with Cafe Mary Grace’s signature dishes now via the GrabFood app and always be on the lookout for its promos on the app under GrabFood Signatures. If you’re a merchant looking to sign up with GrabFood, visit Grab’s official website to learn more.