Regis Center poses stiff competition against small Katipunan restaurants
By Bernice S. Sibucao
The latest addition to Katipunan’s sprawling commercial strip, Regis Center, is hurting local business, according to certain small food establishment owners and staff.
Regis Center is a lifestyle building located directly across Gate 3 of the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU). The building houses restaurants, spas and salons, fitness centers, and coffee shops, among others. It opened last August 2011 and has since been frequented by students of surrounding schools such as ADMU and Miriam College.
“We were very affected when it (Regis Center) opened,” said Get Bote, owner of Cannan Bistro. “Business declined for almost three to four months. Even during lunch time, few customers would show up.”
Bea Rodriguez, owner of Red Roaster Bistro along Esteban Abada, shared the same sentiment. “At first, there was really a decline in the number of our customers. I think it was a month before things went back to normal.”
Food choices, easy access
Some employees of these establishments observed that the rising popularity of Regis Center may be attributed to the famous food choices and the bridge connecting the building to Gate 3 of ADMU, as well as popular establishments such as Fully Booked, Titan, and Gold’s Gym that attract the students.
“I think that the bridge allowed easy access for students, especially those from Ateneo,” said Tesa Macariñas, manager of Gravy Fix.
Cezanne Villafuerte, a student of the said school, confirmed Macariñas’ suspicion. “I frequent Regis because of the direct accessibility of Regis from Ateneo.”
Samantha Lichauco, also a student from the Ateneo, echoed Villafuerte. “I go there a lot because the way there is convenient.”
As for food choices, Get Bote says that their business was affected because most restaurants “such as Bonchon and Mon and Tina’s” in Regis Center have big names. “People, of course, would want to taste the food of those restaurants,” he explained.
Villafuerte agreed with Bote’s observations. “Coffee Bean, and Brother’s Burgers are refreshing additions to the Katipunan strip.”
“I go to Regis because I have a membership at Gold’s Gym. I also usually hang out at Saint Alps and Brothers Burger,” added Miko Pascual, also an Atenean, backing up Villafuerte’s statement.
Expensive and out of budget
There are students, however, who appreciate the establishment of the connecting bridge of Regis but prefer to eat at small restaurants.
“I have probably patronized any of the establishments [in Regis] less than five times pa lang,” said Bianca Francisco, a student from the Ateneo. “But I pass there almost everyday because of the really convenient bridge they built from the overpass. The restaurants though in Regis are definitely beyond my meal budget!” she added
“As someone who live alone and away from home, I’m on a strict budget that’s why I prefer to buy from Eat, Box-o-Rice, and Cannan.”
Max Austria, also an Atenean, echoed Francisco. “I frequent Regis because of the connection to the bridge. But the restaurants are expensive or over my budget.”
In response to the competition posed by Regis Center, these small food establishment developed strategies that would help them get back customers especially when the hype caused by Regis is dying down.
“When business picked up again, we gave away flyers and promos as a sort of remedy,” said Get Bote of Cannan.
Others, meanwhile, relied on their regular customers. “We just trusted that our customers would come back and they did,” said Beth Moises, a staff from Grilled Tomato. “We just made sure that we give them good service and quality food.”
Asked if they did something about the growing number of commercial food establishments, owners and managers said that they really could not do anything about it.
“That’s business,” said Tess Macariñas.
Sharing Macariñas’ sentiment, Bote said those issues are “beyond [their] control.”
“Hindi puwedeng magreklamo.”