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Tacio’s…The Perfect Hangout

Tacio’s…The Perfect Hangout

Ranggo Magazine-Tacio's

Tacio’s 6-Customer Loyalty Success Secrets

Farm-Fresh Ingredients, Award-Winning Service, An Eclectic Menu, Fabulous Cocktails, Welcoming Staff & Signature Service = Customer Loyalty.   TACIO’S has it all.  Editorial Photos Captured by Chum Castro

The Cubao Expo has been building quite a following over the past few years.  The historical, horse-shoe shaped area showcased the local shoe-makers direct to buyers and customers.  It has since morphed into a thriving area for the bar, restaurant and alternative scene, while retaining its original building designs and architecture.  People visit from all over Manila, not just those who are living or working locally.

The shops, bars and restaurants are regularly featured in magazines.  With detailed spreads about the food served and why it is a great place to visit.   RANGGO Magazine made a visit to Tacio’s, as they had been nominated for our RANGGO 100 Best For Service Awards.

Tacio's at Cubao Expo

Tacio’s has been open for just over 3 years, but has already made a name for itself.  We wanted to see for ourselves and talk about their secrets to success, and customer loyalty, with one of the co-founders, Kevin Chavez Endaya.  We also held a round table discussion with Tacio’s award-winning staff and customers, to find out what it is that draws them to Tacio’s.

RANGGO Magazine sat down with Kevin and asked him how Tacio’s came to be and why he thinks the hangout has such strong customer loyalty, gaining new fans and retaining their original customers.

“…we’d always talked about how we wanted our own hangout place.  The Tacio’s Concept …we would sell whatever we wanted to eat or drink when we go out; that’s why there’s no strict theme at Tacio’s.  Every now and then, we add something new.   Dun nag evolve yung quality ng food [That is where the quality of the food evolved].  We’re quality checking everything ourselves…eating the same things that the patrons eat.” – Kevin Chavez Endaya, Tacio’s co-founder

Kevin Chavez Endaya is one of Tacio’s co-founders and a respected name in the culinary world. Before venturing out on his own Chef Kevin had worked at Terry’s Selections, Crowne Plaza Galleria Manila, Discovery Suites and Lemuria Gourmet Restaurant.  Chef Kevin along with his co-founders, Roi Endaya and Cristopher Atanacio; his brother and childhood friend respectively, began Tacio’s as a passion project, while still working at Lemuria.

Tacio's, Cubao Expo, Quezon

RANGGO: Tell Us All About Tacio’s Eclectic Menu

Kevin: Of course, some of the dishes are my own creation…stemming from my experiences as a Sushi Chef, working in a Japanese restaurant and a French Fine Dining restaurant.  Obviously I couldn’t fully adapt them for Tacio’s, pero yung flavor profile dun lang nag evolve [but the flavor profile just evolved here].

The Tacio’s Menu is very eclectic.  We have a bit of Mexican, Italian, lots of Filipino, American – you name it: pero hinde naman sya yung sobrang labo labo, picked yung menu items kung ano yung gusto namin kainin gusto  ishare sa patrons [The menu items are picked in terms of what we want to eat, and also what we want to share with our patrons].  We take advantage of the local Farmer’s Market for the range and freshness of their ingredients. 

One of my favorite dishes is our Gambas; quality Olive Oil, fresh shrimp and nice garlic.  I don’t understand why other places don’t serve shrimp – or if they do why their dishes are super expensive.  We buy ours fresh each day…once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Tacio's, Cubao Expo
Ranggo Magazine

My new favorite…Tacio’s Crabmeat Tortilla, inspired by Jay Fai!  It’s a tangy Spanish-style tortilla, it’s just soft potatoes, crabmeat and eggs, which we serve with traditional Tartar Sauce.  Again, we get the real crabmeat fresh, from the local Farmer’s Market.” 

RANGGO: How About Tacio’s Cocktails?

Kevin: Tacio’s Specialty Drinks Menu is a collaboration with our bar tenders, the owners and sometimes with the suppliers.  Like uminom kami ng B52 sa Boracay, so dapat may ganun din tayo dito [Like we drank a really good B52 in Boracay and thought we need to have that here too]. 

We also create Tacio’s Specialty Drinks with the seasons in mind.  In the summertime Tacio’s features drinks that are refreshing and light.  Then, we’ll come up with new ones pag medyo tag-ulan na [when it’s rainy season].  We recently introduced our new cocktail, Quezon Delight.  Our supplier visited, had us taste their Kaibigan; a triple distilled Lambanog – which they make from scratch.  They own the farm and the distillery, so the process from the tuba to the lambanog is really clean.  The result is the full Lambanog flavor without the plastic after taste. The Kaibigan cocktail taste is very clean; you get the real coconut juice aftertaste.

[For Tacio’s Quezon Delight Cocktail], we’ve paired it with brown sugar syrup; it’s a bit spicy, so I then infused some spice liquor, Sambuca, fresh mint leaves and local citrus.”

RANGGO: Tacio’s is very popular.  Why?

Kevin: We’ve been watching and it’s plain to see that when guests visit Tacio’s they feel very comfortable.   Even if they’re alone, foreign or local. They can just sit at the bar and chat with the bar staff, the owners or make new friends, and not feel out of place or alienated.  It’s like ‘Cheers, and everyone knows their name.’ 

Even the owners; some of our closest friends are people we’ve met here at Tacio’s. 

RANGGO: How do you achieve that?

Kevin: With this type of establishment, it’s all about service and how you treat your guests. Tacio’s was popular almost from opening night.  As owners, we wanted to create a bar that could be our regular hang-out place and it’s also become that for many of our guests.  It was important to us, not to just have great food and drinks, but a venue where people want to hang out. Training our staff to treat the guests as family has been key to that, and to our customer loyalty success.

Tacio’s: A Great Place to Work

RANGGO wanted to get insights on successful-team-building practices for other owners who were looking for the secret to customer service success.  How too, could they reach the same success and satisfaction that the owners of Tacio’s were enjoying?

Finding, training, managing and retaining the right team members has proven to be the true-secret to success for Tacio’s.  Whether it be in their collaborative menu insights, customer comfort, loyalty and even the implementation of easy, environment-friendly practices which customers love these days, great service-oriented staff gives you a huge competitive advantage.

So, after the owners ‘100 Best In Service’ interview was done and they had gone home for the day, we created a RANGGO Insider’s Round Table Discussion with Tacio’s staff team; specifically, Joyce Imperio, John Macy Tupas, Vincent Rafael Buenamia,  Pablito Balatbat (Pabs), Chef Jomar S. Salas and some of their regular customers, here’s what they had to say:

RANGGO: Longevity is a key factor in service training and very important when it comes to establishing a company culture.  So, to get a feel of how that played into Tacio’s success, we asked them, how long have you been working at Tacio’s?

Joyce Imperio: I’ve been the Supervisor at Tacio’s for 3 years and 2 months.

John Macy Tupas: I’ve been a waiter here for 2 and a half years.

Vincent Rafael Buenamia: I’m the Head Bartender and I’ve been here 3 years

Pablito Balatbat (Pabs): I’m designated as the kitchen staff Cook One and I’ve been here almost 2 years

Jomar S. Salas: I’ve been here 3 years, as the Head Chef

RANGGO:  You said you love working at Tacio’s, why?

Article Photo’s courtesy of Chum Castro – see bio at end of the article

Macy: Masaya po eh. Sobrang saya parang family na kami dito, gusto ko yung trabaho. [It’s a fun place. So much fun; we feel like we’re all family here. I really like working here].

Pabs: Yes, it’s like family here; Kung ano yung family sa labas, pareho din dito sa workplace [I am as close to people here as I am my actual family]. Same with the Managers, Head Chef and especially the bosses who are good at communicating with their staff. Di nila tinitreat na ibang tao yung staff nila (they don’t treat the staff as ‘others’)

Vincent: Bartender kasi ako, pag may nagorder ng cocktail pag mag smile sila and masarapan sila ok nay un eh [As I’m a bartender, when people order cocktails and I see a smile on their face, and they find the cocktail delicious,  it’s very fulfilling].

Joyce:  Good vibes kasi katulad nung mga sounds namin tapos yung mga guest namin mababait. Also the staff. [It’s just good vibes here, like with our music and our guests are nice].

Jomar: For financial reasons din syempre, para mabuhay yung pamilya natin, and syempre dun narin sa pagluluto. [Also for financial reasons; for my family’s welfare, and also because I enjoy cooking]

RANGGO:  What is your favourite part about working at Tacio’s?

Macy: Siguro yung pakikisama sa trabaho and ginagawa namin parang natural nalang sa amin araw araw ang ginagawa namin. [It’s the camaraderie, and what we do in the workplace daily just comes naturally to us]

Joyce:  Yes, for me Yung vibe talaga. [It’s really the vibe]

Vincent: And makapagserve ng maganda sa guests, para may masabi silang maganda tungkol sa bar namin. [Being able to serve the guests well so that they will have nice things to say about our bar]

Jomar: Yes, yung mga sauce talaga ang importante, kasi yung sauce ang nagdadala talaga sa dish. [I really focus on the sauces, it is really the sauces that makes the dish]

Pabs: I love our Anniversaries; there are lots of giveaways to the guests. We give back to the guests who have supported us. We have promos such as free drinks, free pulutan [appetizers] and a band performance.  Tacio’s Anniversary is April 20.

RANGGO:  What’s the secret to the popularity of Tacio’s?

Joyce: Unang una sa food kakaiba and masarap talaga. Sa drinks namin yung beers kasi namin dito we serve it cold di kami nagseserve ng hinde malamig. Also the service siguro kaya kami binabalik balikan. [Firstly it’s our food, it’s different and really delicious. On drinks, we serve our beers cold we don’t serve warm beers.  Also our service is probably a reason why people keep coming back].

Vincent:  Yes, kami lang sa expo ang nagseserve ng mas maraming cocktail [We are the only place in Cubao Expo that serves a lot of cocktail drinks]. And Different food; such as Mexican, Italian, American, Filipino.

Jomar: Maraming call center sa paligid tsaka yung lugar mismo Araneta Center so talagang madaming tao. Sa Cubao Expo yung Tacio’s yung talagang kilala, siguro dahil sa ambiance, food and service. [There are many call centres nearby and the place itself Araneta Center has a lot of people. At Cubao Expo Tacio’s is really well known, maybe because of the ambiance, food, and service].

Macy: And yung mga waiter kasi dito pala-tropa, pala-kaibigan sa mga sa mga customer kaya siguro kami binabalik balikan. [And the waiters here are chummy and really make friends with the customers; that’s probably why they keep coming back].

RANGGO:  What is your favourite dish at Tacio’s?

Joyce: I love the Chicken Wings. Malasa sya and hinde sya ganung ka anghang balanced lang. [It is tasty and not too spicy; the balance is right].  Also Babyback Ribs malambot sya and masarap yung sauce [Also the Babyback Ribs; they’re tender and the sauce is delicious].

Macy: For me it’s the T-Bone Steak, cooked medium rare. Masarap yung steak namin [Our steak is really good]

Jomar: Me too the Steak, T-Bone or Ribeye and cooked medium rare

Vincent:  Tacio’s Quesadillas. Para syang pizza [it’s like pizza]. They’re made with Bell Pepper, Tomato, Onion and it’s served with Chicken, Fish or Steak.

Pabs: Yes!! The Chicken Quesadilla. You get your money’s worth for Php 255.00

RANGGO: Tacio’s Drink Menu is wonderful.  What is your favorite drink?

Pabs: Red Horse, I’m just being honest

Jomar: Smirnoff Mule

Joyce: Jaeger Bull

Macy: Old Fashioned; Jim Beam with orange juice and bar mix.

Vincent: Syempre yung lagi kong sineserve [Of course what I always serve]. Sangria because it’s served with lots more fruit and uses wine as a base.

Tacio’s: 6-Secrets To Customer Loyalty Success

Tacio's at Cubao Expo

When RANGGO talked to Tacio’s customers, we really didn’t know what to expect.  It’s such a diverse crowd. Tacio’s is popular with everyone; from age to gender, nationality, locals, BPO workers and residents of the neighborhood, to expats. 

We had just 6  questions to ask them, which we know will give true-customers, real-insights into how a business and a hospitality worker can build customer loyalty and achieve success in their own business or career. 

1.  How long have you been coming to Tacio’s?

2.  Why do you love hanging out here in Tacio’s?

3. What is your favorite thing about Tacio’s?

4. Why do you think Tacio’s is so popular?

5. What is your favorite dish at Tacio’s

6. What is your favorite drink at Tacio’s

Eugene Cablay: I’ve been drinking here since Tacio’s first opened, 3 years ago; I live in the neighborhood.  At first I was intimidated because I thought Oh! It’s fancy!”  Then I came in and had a drink and it’s good; it’s a cool place, where you can come and not be judged, and just be yourself . I started drinking here alone, but in the long run I met the owners and I have made new friends.  So it’s a family now; they have good food, good people and cold beer!  Tacio’s is the first place I ever had Quesadilla and I really like it; my favorite is Tacio’s Chicken Quesadillas.  If you are musically inclined Tacio’s has an Open Mic Night upstairs every Tuesday. I play kahon and drums.

Syrel Mark Gonzalez: I love to hang out at Tacio’s. I first came here with friends, but then came back on my own and I made more friends. A lot of people here are friendly, even the staff and owners and the food and beer is cheap here compared to other places. I love their Cheeseburger and fries; it’s real cheap and plentiful. Just with that order alone you will be full already. You can eat it as an appetizer or as a meal. 

Elgene Zalamea: I’ve been coming here almost every day…just over 3 years.  I used to bike a lot in the afternoons, and one time I ended up coming here around lunchtime and Tacio’s was the only place that was open and had air-con.  I like that it’s cold inside, compared to the other places; it’s smaller and quieter too. I like the food and I like the company…you can go to Tacio’s alone and end up going home with completely new friends. 

April Torreja: I’ve been coming to Tacio’s for two years; my friend LG brought me here one night.   I love the vibe and the friends that I’ve met here.  It’s fun because it’s comfortable and the crowd isn’t annoying or rowdy, especially Tuesdays, which is Open Mic Night. I don’t play but I like to listen.  I love the drinks and the food; Tacio’s Garlic Chicken is sarap and their Sangria is really tasty…not, watered-down like other places.

Fred Jalalon: When Tacio’s first opened, 3 years ago, we tried it…we love the ambiance.  It has become our ‘It” place; when we say “Let’s go to Expo” it is without question that we go straight to Tacio’s. 

We love the food, we love the place, we love the ambience, and the moments we have together are important for us; we get to talk together, hang out. People of all age groups hang out here…look at how the people are here, diba; [points over the room] you’re not alone here.  We love their hospitality towards their customers; we’ve been friends with the waiters, with the staff and with the owners, and that’s what we love.  I love Tacio’s Chicken Pesto Pasta; I don’t want anything too heavy to eat.  We order buckets of Red Horse or sometimes wine. If it’s a celebration… it’s AMF (Tacio’s Adios Mother Fucker) shots.

Ona Cipcon: I’ve been coming to Tacio’s since September 2018…my co-workers first brought me here. I love coming here.

…the customers…the staff – especially the staff.  And, one of my friends, Chef Kevin.  The first person I knew here was Vincent the bar tender.  As I would come here, I would meet more people.  I often come here alone.  It’s cheap and the place itself is very accommodating.  I love Tacio’s Chicken Quesadilla and the Salpicao – Sarap!

Check out our other Cubao Expo article on Habanero Kitchen Bar

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RANGGO Photo Editorial Contributor, Chum Castro is a freelance music photographer, who also owns and manages a Milk Tea shop and merchandising store in the Philippines. Chum is an award-winning photographer, as well as a B.S. Bio & Law Graduate. He began shooting with film cameras and is largely self-taught.

“My passion lies in concert music photography.  I used to collect vintage guitars and other instruments…and I love to play as well.” – Chum Castro

You may view more of his work at:  Facebook.com/Music-In-Frames

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