(Source: Inside Retail Philippines | 28 October 2016)
Cebu’s Chocolate Queen, the founder of the Chocolate Chamber, is to open her first store in Manila on November 9
Racquel T Choa, who also founded Rafle Gourmet, will open another chocolate cafe in Cebu City before the year is out – and a new store in Chef Jessie Rockwell Club in Makati City’s Rockwell Center.
In an interview with the Cebu Daily News, Choa said she decided to expand into Metro Manila after discovering about 60 per cent of her buyers and orders came from the city.
“And I also want to share with the people in Manila my advocacy of creating chocolate gourmets, and the health benefits they can get from cacao. And these treats will be made readily available for them,” she said.
Choa has partnered in the Rockwell store with pastry chef Jessie Sincioco, founder and CEO of JCS Gastronomie and the first internationally recognized Filipina pastry chef.
“Chef Jessie and I agreed to have this joint venture because both of us share the same love for creating pastries.”
But her ambitions for Manila are modest – just one store is planned for the time being.
Meanwhile, Choa’s business partner Edu Pantino confirmed a second Rafle Gourmet retail store – El Chocolate Tavern – will open in Cebu at the IT Park in Barangay Apas, Cebu City in the first week of December. It will target middle-class employees working in Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies.
“In my observation, most of the employees in call center companies are millennials,” Choa told the Cebu Daily News. “The creation of chocolates from pure cacao beans, sikwate and tablea are things of the past. And for these young people, these millennials, they appear as something foreign. They miss out on the fact that cacao beans actually contain antioxidants, and tablea drinks are great mood stabilizers while they work,” she said.