Sweet Success in Rice Cakes - INQ

VIRAC, Catanduanes—After several business flops, Simplicio Mendoza finally found a formula for success by making this town’s most popular fare—caramelized rice cakes.


“I tried operating a small bakery, but it did not prosper. I also tried to pursue other businesses, but like the bakery, they did not do well,” Mendoza, 58, recalls.

Impling’s Special Delicacies was born in his house in Barangay Sogod-Tibgao in this capital town.

In 1997, Mendoza went full-blast in the production of rice cakes with “latik.” He says the food business “seldom goes awry, and people prioritize food over other commodities.”

Now, his daily sales amount to at least P2,000. Costing P10 each, his rice cakes come in different baskets.

Preparation

Mendoza wakes up at about 3 a.m. to start preparing quality rice cakes with six employees.

“Thoroughly cleaning the rice grains (malagkit) prolongs the shelf-life of the rice cakes,” he says. He estimates shelf-life at up to five days.

Malunggay” extract is added to the malagkit for color and as preservative. “It also makes the rice cake more nutritious because malunggay is a ‘super food.’ It is very nutritious,” Mendoza says.

The mixture of glutinous rice, malunggay extract and salt is laced with sugar and thick coconut milk, wrapped in banana leaves and boiled over low fire from charcoal.

Daily production of rice cakes depends on demand. It runs all year though, and peak season is Christmas.

“We would be happy when customers order for more, so it has been our policy to always satisfy the customer. We make sure that we never run out of rice cakes, although we also check that we are not overproducing,” Mendoza says.

With his earnings, Mendoza says the venture “almost singlehandedly raised my family.”

He is planning to open outlets in neighboring Albay and in Manila.

One of the reasons for the success of Mendoza’s business is his good treatment of employees. “I make sure that no one of those who help me in producing rice cakes goes hungry.”

He hires out-of-school youths occasionally.

“Dedication to work is also important,” Mendoza says. But most importantly, he says, a business should have direction.

“You should know where you are heading, and you must have faith in God,” he says.

By Jonas Cabiles Soltes
Inquirer Southern Luzon
First Posted 19:25:00 04/17/2010

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