With their late patriarch Francis Magalona dubbed as the country’s “Master Rapper," the Magalonas are known as a royal family of entertainers. Francis and wife Pia had eight children, many of whom had also joined showbiz. Over the last couple of years, however, the Magalona siblings have been dabbling in business. Among their ventures is concept restaurant Milky ‘n Sunny, co-owned by Pia and her two children—Elmo and Mrs. Maxene Mananquil.
Milky ‘n Sunny operates in two locations. One is at Legaspi Village in Makati. The other sits at the newly built Ignacia Place in Quezon City. The original idea behind Milky ‘n Sunny: An all-day breakfast place—hence, the name. When the Magalonas opened their first branch in 2010, they received praise for their generous servings of classic favorites (rice and egg meals, waffles, and french toasts, to name a few) as well as their unique takes on them (one bite of the Maxene Pancake Wrap and you’ll understand). But over the years, and at the suggestion of customers, they’ve expanded their menu to include non-breakfast items such as soups, salads, bar chow, and pastas. Now they like to think of themselves as your neighborhood go-to for all kinds of comfort food.
Maxene, Elmo, and Pia unveiled the QC branch of Milky n' Sunny to some select members of the media last April. Apparently, the launch of the second branch has been a long time coming. “Thankfully nakahanap kami ng spot here because I really love Quezon City! This is where I work. And I used to live in Katipunan, so I'm happy that we got to open here,” an excited Maxene told us.
Added Elmo, one of the biggest considerations in opening a Milky ‘n Sunny branch is accessibility. “I’m one of those people who enjoy comfort food. But sometimes we only get that when we’re at home or far away from work,” he observed. “We chose this location (in QC) because it’s near the two big networks in show business. In Makati, it’s beside all these buildings with offices. So it’s a really good spot (for) people (who) want to find food.” If everything goes well, Elmo said they’ll consider implementing a 24-hour service starting with their QC branch.
The ropes of business
Is working with family an issue? It can be to some, as it inevitably blurs personal or professional lines. Yet, the two Magalona siblings insist there has been no drama when it comes to running Milky ‘n Sunny. “We just give out ideas. Siyempre we're trying to vie for what we're supposed to serve people,” revealed Elmo. “And if we think it’s not deserving to be on the menu, we don’t really push each other.”
It also helps that there’s a clear division of labor among them. Maxene and Elmo help promote the restaurant while their mom, their tita, and other partners handle the admin work.
While none of them have an actual background in food or business, the siblings have learned a great deal in both. “Be smart about your future and your investments. When you want to open a business make sure it's something that you really relate to and that you believe in,” advised Maxene. “I love eating and I love breakfast food. Translate everything that you love into a business, and you will never have to work a day in your life!”
Elmo’s biggest takeaway is convincing customers to come back. “Most people would just be like, ‘Oh, there’s a new restaurant! Why don’t we try this?’ And then later on they’d not want to try it again,” he admitted. Elmo and the rest of the team address this by doing things the ol’ fashioned way: making delicious food.
For more information, follow @milkynsunny on Facebook and Instagram
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Photographs by Vyn Radovan and Instagram.com/maxenemagalona