People are lining up for Bigg’s opening day—and we find out why


Posted at Nov 12 2019 11:42 AM | Updated as of Nov 12 2019 07:30 PM

Its notoriety not only scored the approval of Bicolanos, but also of visitors, travelers, and anyone fortunate enough to stumble upon the distant place. For residents in Metro Manila, its distance is no longer a matter to distress.

Set up in an ample space at the lower ground floor of SM Fairview's main building in Quezon City, Bigg's Diner charms anticipating guests with retro ambience during its opening.

Bicol's prized eatery is best known for their signature chicken. Majority of its patrons would even go so far to call it legendary. Their Cajun chicken, which according to some, tops everything else on the menu.

Their secret to their perfectly good chicken? Chief Executive Officer Carlo Buenaflor shared that a commissary in Bicol is designated to prepare all of Bigg's chicken, before being moved frozen to the branches. After being thawed, a special marinade is once more coated on the chicken before it's dipped into the fryer.

Aside from Bigg's iconic dish, courses of ribs, java rice, burgers, soups, salads, and specially made iced tea, all served at very generous portions—can fill up even the hungriest stomachs.

One would think that with such a supportive following, success has been tailing the diner without a hitch ever since its humble beginning. Buenaflor opened up that the company did brush against some mishaps, including the time their very first branch in SM Sta. Rosa failed.

''We're called Bigg's Diner in Bicol. But we realized that 'diner' carries an associated pre-impression here in Manila. 'Pag sinabi mong diner, mahal 'yan, walang rice, puro hamburgers and shakes,'' Buenaflor said.

In fact, its current name is the second revision from the time of its inception. In Naga City in 1983, the ''three Marias'' Nene Bichara, Nienie Buenaflor (mother of CEO Carlo Buenaflor), and Maricar Manjon, launched the food place under the name ''Mang Donalds,'' a sort of lampoon edition of the then newly McDonalds-penetrated Philippines.

To avoid trademark complications, the founders switched it up to ''Carl's'' in reference to their sons' names which all bear it.

As the business matured, the family thought it was best to highlight their individual identity.

''Because at that time, we were in the process of differentiating ourselves from other multinational brands. And the other thing is portion size. We wanted to serve a more upscale dining experience than the typical fast food. Our service standards were elevated, the size of the chicken,'' Buenaflor shared. Alas, the birth of the name Bigg's, which stands by the objective to go big in every aspect.

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