Cebu’s thriving ‘foodpreneurs’ eye VisMin markets

·2 min read

THE team behind Cebu’s biggest online food community, Let’s Eat Bai (LEB), is targeting to open in other key cities in the Visayas and Mindanao to help more food entrepreneurs in the digital journey of their businesses.

LEB Holdings Inc. president JP Chiongbian said they are looking at the end of 2022 or early 2023 to start their VisMin expansion in Dumaguete, Iloilo and Cagayan de Oro as areas outside Cebu to launch their operations.

“When we organize our whole eco-entrepreneurial system, this is how we scale up. We will scale up by targeting other cities and the whole Visayas. We want this platform to encapsulate and catapult the entrepreneurs of each of our neighboring Visayan communities,” Chiongbian said.

LEB maintains its Certified Vendors Program (CVP), which gives foodpreneurs access not only to the LEB page but also the LEB delivery app and the onsite Sugbo Mercado.

Chiongbian said once they fully organize the system here in Cebu, they can open in the other cities.

“We want to concentrate our operations here. To be safe, by 2023, we’ll be scaling up to other cities outside Cebu for the whole system,” he said.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, LEB was a private Facebook group to discuss food trends and the up-and-coming restaurants in Cebu. Over time, it became Cebu’s biggest and most engaged food community with more than 120,000 members.

During the lockdown, the demand for food delivery services grew with more Cebuanos opting to stay and dine at home. In response, LEB shifted to a digital marketplace to support food entrepreneurs open businesses and sell their products online.

As it turns one, LEB boosts its entrepreneurial ecosystem and unveils more platforms to help support Cebuano food entrepreneurs as they learn, grow and expand their business.

As it looks beyond its first year, LEB continues to expand and innovate to accommodate more businesses and cater to the growing community as their needs continue to evolve and grow as circumstances change.

LEB is slated to open its own 150-square-meter Cloud Kitchen later this year at Taft East Gate. It will serve as a centralized facility for Certified Vendors who need a space for faster and seamless food production and delivery as they expand their business beyond home.

Certified Vendors will also be able to set up shop at a minimal cost at Cebu’s biggest food market, Sugbo Mercado and the soon-to-open Let’s Eat Bai Food Hub at Ayala Center Cebu and SM City Cebu.

These sites will serve as incubator venues to help start-up entrepreneurs gain experience before putting their own standalone venue and go into franchising or company-owned expansion. (JOB)