Beating the restaurant industry odds by cooking Filipino home-style meals


This November, Carinderia will celebrate its fifth year and for the restaurant industry, that is an incredible feat. (photo supplied by Carinderia)

No matter what your background or culture, most of you can agree that nothing beats “home cooked meals.” After all, what is more, satisfying than having your loved ones prepare a fresh meal, and served warmly in the comfort of your home? How about ones that are prepared for you, with the same quality ingredients, flavour and taste of back home, without the hassle and time of making it yourself!

That is exactly what Dolly Kohanyi envisioned for her customers when she opened up “Carinderia” a Filipino eatery in Mississauga, Ontario on November 4, 2015.

This November, Carinderia will celebrate its fifth year and for the restaurant industry, that is an incredible feat. In fact, ninety percent of independent restaurants fail during their first year in operation, mostly due to lack of capital, and for those that survive, most will operate for another five years.

Of those that operate past the five-year mark, it is likely they will remain in business for a minimum of ten years [1].

As Carinderia reaches their five-year mark, Far West Herald wanted to hear Dolly Kohanyi thoughts about running a restaurant business and how she plans to continue to beat the odds for long-term success.

1. What inspired you to open up a restaurant?

Carinderia, in the Philippines means a popular style of eatery, usually food stalls with a small seating area. I was inspired by my aunt, Inso Panching who had a small Carinderia eatery beside our house and served our small barrios and mostly our shoemaker employees at that time when my mother owned a shoe shop in Marikina.

2. Describe your specialty? What makes your restaurant unique?


Our team is constantly trying to produce high-quality foods and our specialty is authentic home cooking, just like back home in the Philippines. Our menu is inspired by the memory of my childhood back home. We have stew dishes on steamed tables for Meal Plates just like Turo Turo, fast food Filipino version.

We also have meals that are cooked to order from various selections on our menu boards like Silogs, Grilled Boxed meals, Rice Bowls, Noodle Bowls, Merienda, Halo-halo, and Filipino cooler drinks.


3. Running a business is not easy, what would say has been your greatest challenge with running this type of operation?

With our team obsessed with high-quality food and good customer service, but the most challenging is the labour and food cost.

4. What would you say has been your greatest reward with owning your own restaurant?

  • Seeing, Lolo and Lola and our Filipino kababayan excited to see our menu that remind them of food and tastes of food just like back home.
  • Seeing other nationalities, who dare to taste test and love our Filipino cuisine instantly.
  • Customers reviews on social media platforms and those who verbally tell us on the spot.
  • Customers saying their thank you’s before leaving the restaurant.
  • Customer giving us respect by cleaning up their dishes and tables after enjoying a meal.
  • Seeing customers patiently waiting when many customers come all at once.

5. What have you been doing to beat the odds of the restaurant industry statistics? What is your long-term goal?

Our team focuses on providing consistent food quality, cleanliness of the restaurant, customer satisfaction, and sanitation. We also follow what the trends of the millennials like implementing online ordering systems for delivery like Ubereats, Foodora, Skip The Dishes, as well as our own Online ordering for pick up.

Our goal is to be well know in our Filipino community and so to appeal to to other diverse customers.


6. With more and more Filipino restaurants and outlets opening, are you concerned about competition?

No. Filipino cuisine is the 2nd most trending in the restaurant industry. We need more businesses to represent our Filipino cuisine and believe our community will support small restaurant businesses to grow.

7. What advice would you give to those who wish to start their own business or restaurant?

Be prepared for lots of hard work, dedication, and have a solid understanding in business operations.

For more information about Carinderia by DFlores, you can visit their website at:


By: Marie Arevalo, FWH/ Lifestyle Editor