The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) annually recognizes outstanding young entrepreneurs in their chosen fields through the PCCI Injap Sia Outstanding Young Entrepreneur Awards. This is PCCI’s way of rolling the red carpet to select entrepreneurs for their innovative contributions to the industry that help generate jobs and develop new markets.
This year, one of its nominees is a 32-year-old businessman behind the highly successful “Shawarma Shack”—its founder, president, and CEO, Walther Uzi Buenavista.
In the six years that Buenavista has been managing the business, his direction is always laser-focused on his three main motivations: Growth, Innovation, and Employment.
Thus, what started as a simple food stall in Divisoria in February 2015 has now become a leading innovator in the food cart business. Buenavista’s “distinctive visioning ability” facilitated the growth of the company.
one of the innovative contributions he has done for the company is the state-of-the-art modern food lab of Shawarma Shack. “We ensure that the products we serve are not just delicious and reasonably priced but also manufactured from a modern food facility that operates with advanced equipment using smart technology and guarantees a high standard when it comes to food safety and sanitation. ”
This growth was also fuelled by his desire to bring their products closer to the customers. Shawarma Shack Group now has stores in key locations across the country. “It presented a significant growth in terms of augmenting the demand from our customers and expanding enterprise sales,” Buenavista pointed out.
Because of the company’s growth, Francorp Philippines gave Shawarma Shack a One to Many The Millennial Club Award in October 2017. This award is given to businesses that were able to reach double-digit number of branches in three years. In 2017, Shawarma Shack already had 28 outlets, the same year when Buenavista was just 28 years old while Shawarma Shack was only two years old.
Growth doesn’t stop for Buenavista either as he is now currently studying Business Administration Major in Human Resource Management at San Pedro College of Business Administration.
And even in the time of the pandemic, this forward-looking entrepreneur did not stop innovating for his company and for its clientele.
He added: “With the plans that we are currently developing, a greater innovation is on the way for Shawarma Shack.”
Buenavista said Shawarma Shack is now well-positioned for further growth and is ready to welcome into its fold entrepreneurs who are looking to invest in the food business and help spur economic growth in key areas by generating more employment opportunities.
Buenavista’s push for employment generation through entrepreneurship is aligned with the programs of the PCCI, Philippine Retailers Association, and Philippine Franchise Association, which is why he has been actively participating in the advocacies and events of these big business organizations.
Shawarma Shack received a plaque of appreciation, as awarded by the Philippine Coast Guard, for helping the government carry out its humanitarian response measures in the aftermath of disasters and providing logistical support to first responders and relief goods.
It was also awarded by the NCRPO a medal of valor for unwavering support in its fight against Covid-19.
Aside from growth and innovation, Shawarma Shack also prides itself on providing employment to Filipinos with its over 500 stalls nationwide and growing, helping boost the economy of the localities that it serves.
Shawarma Shack, Buenavista noted, also opened the business to franchisees to give aspiring business owners and young entrepreneurs another great opportunity “to make their dreams real and achieve financial freedom.”
“My overall goal is to increase the success of the growth initiatives of the company as well as the technological progression in terms of innovation and bring countless employment opportunities to our fellow countrymen,” Buenavista emphasized.