Unboxed: Boxes Asian Kitchen entrepreneur opens Bayong PH and Cartimart online groceries

by Matthew Escosia
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By: Juan Carlos Sevilla


After the declaration of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in the Philippines, the business sector was also immensely affected. A large number of establishments were forced to postpone their operations, and most of them are micro to small and medium enterprises or MSMEs. While some of these businesses are classified by the government as essential businesses, like the food sector, many opted not to continue operations until the lift of the ECQ to prioritize the health of their employees.

One of those food establishments which opted not to operate during the quarantine is Boxes Asian Kitchen, located in Makati City and owned by young entrepreneur Mary Anne Lu. The safety and welfare of her employees was her main concern given the number of interactions in the store which, on a normal day, is flocked by delivery-based apps like Grab, Food Panda, and Lala Food.

Just like any other MSMEs, Mary Anne Lu’s business has been greatly impacted by the pandemic and consequently, the quarantine. She had no other choice but to halt operations of Boxes Asian Kitchen until the Enhanced Community Quarantine is lifted. “It is really hard for us to continue the operation given this pandemic situation. As much as we want to continue to serve more customers, we also highly prioritize the safety and welfare of our people,” said Mary Anne. While doing so, there are still duties need to be paid by the restaurant.

Boxes Asian Kitchen has been Mary Anne Lu’s main source of income for three years since she left the corporate world. Given the pandemic situation, she had no other choice but to adapt and make up for the lost income for the whole duration that her restaurant is closed.

For two days, Mary Anne thought of ways how she can maximize her resources and network. After a lot of thinking and consultation, she talked to some suppliers of vegetables, meat, fish, and fruits and a group of couriers, and that paved the way for a new business idea, her online groceries called Bayong PH and Cartimart.PH.

She first tested the market with her friends and neighbors by sending them a message and handing out lists of goods. After 2 days, she got her first order from Las Pinas City that included shrimps and vegetables. Upon the delivery of the goods, she received a message from a delighted customer saying “Thank you, Mary and Team Bayong PH. Thank you for being so reliable especially during these times. (I) was impressed with the fast delivery. (It’s) very Hassle free.  (I) will definitely order again!”. Soon after that, her order request started to pile up and a lot of happy customers continue to commend her page.

Opening her online grocery has been a revelation to Mary Anne, “I was surprised with the outcome. The operation is as difficult as running an actual restaurant but knowing my customers are thankful and satisfied with the goods and our services, it makes us really happy.”

The COVID19 pandemic and enhanced community quarantine brought us many difficulties; we are challenged with restrictions and exposed us to our limitations, but that doesn’t mean we cannot go against the tides. It just takes some creativity, perseverance, optimism, and faith to adapt to the changes and overcome the challenges.

For Bayong PH delivery: You may visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Bayong-PH-102924418043813/

For Cartimart PH delivery: You may visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CartiMart-PH-108655557467486/


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