Cooking Up Business Success


Until recently, the income of the Pido family had been enough for their needs. Mr. and Mrs. Pido both had regular jobs at Mindanao State University – which is in Marawi City, in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Mrs. Amina Pido was an office clerk while her husband worked as a security guard. But with all their seven children reaching school age and enrolled in school, the additional, mounting expenses for their children’s education forced Mrs. Pido to look for a way to earn additional income. Being a long-time university employee, Mrs. Pido knew that students were always on the lookout for affordable meals. Because her family lived inside the university campus, she decided to set up a carinderia (small restaurant) that would cater to students.

Mrs. Pido bought several tables and chairs, converted a portion of her front porch into a dining area, and put up a “We Serve Lunch” sign. Being a good cook, her meals became an instant favorite among students. She soon needed additional capital to buy more tables and chairs and to expand her daily production. When she learned that some of her friends were applying for a group loan with the Maranao Rural Bank, she asked to be included.

Maranao Rural Bank is a participating bank in USAID’s Microenterprise Access to Banking Services Program, an activity aimed at helping rural banks build the capability to profitably provide financial services – both loan and deposit services – to microenterprises.

The loan application of Mrs. Pido’s group was approved and Mrs. Pido was on her way. Today, she cooks and serves about 50 kilos of rice and other dishes daily to an average 150 customers.

“Pater, a Maranao dish, is a favorite among my customers. I have two pater dishes, one is chicken adobo (a meat dish cooked in soy sauce and vinegar) and the other is gandang, a spicy beef stew, which is a Maranao favorite. Everyday, I make sure to buy all the spices I need for my pater personally, because everything has to taste right.” says Mrs. Pido. Word of mouth about the quality of the food, and its affordable price help Mrs. Pido’s clientele continue to grow.

Her plans for her business are as calculated as her pater recipe. In all this, she counts the Maranao Rural Bank as an important business partner. She recently took out a second loan from the bank and used the money to buy a computer. Her eldest daughter uses it to do typing jobs for students rushing to finish a paper. In the future, they plan to buy a printer, another computer, expand her carinderia, and hopefully, open up an internet café.