From just wanting to help their mother and grandmother finance their studies, siblings Beejay and Marlene Burog are now the entrepreneurs behind one of the most successful shawarma chains in the country.
Siblings Beejay and Marlene Burog were only in college when they thought of building their own business to help their mother and grandmother fund their business. As a family, they loved eating out, and so they decided to put up their own food enterprise.
It was in the year 2003, and Manila was experiencing a shawarma craze when the Burog siblings launched Khaleb Shawarma. Their very first stall was located in Recto, Manila. Juggling their schooling and their business was no easy task, but Beejay and Marlene were undaunted by the challenge.
“Our focus was supposed to be our studies, but we also needed to visit the outlet, do the inventory, and manage the people. We took it as an advantage na we were able to experience that kahit na nag-aaral pa lang kami. Dahil dito, nasanay kami mag multitask,” says Marlene, the younger of the two.
Their business was a hit. From initially offering just shawarma pita and shawarma rice, they diversified into including more items in their menu like yogurt smoothie, salads, and the pitazza, which marries the ingredients of shawarma into a pizza bread. Because of their business, Beejay and Marlene became more financially independent and took more responsibility in their household.
“We asked our mom to retire from selling in our sari-sari store. We want to give back to her and our lola, we want them to enjoy their life because they sacrificed a lot in raising us,” Beejay says.
In 2005, they entered into a partnership with SM, which they say, tremendously helped the growth of their business. Their first stall was located in SM North. Not long after, they became a pioneering food business at the SM Mall of Asia.
“Parang kapatid na namin ang SM. They gave us the break when we were just 18 or 20. College students pa lang kami, sinong maniniwala sa amin? But SM trusted us and our brand, and gave us the great opportunity,” shares Beejay. Now, Khaleb Shawarma is available in different SM Malls, Supermarkets, and Hypermarkets. To know more about Khaleb Shawarma and its offerings, visit http://www.khaleb.com/.