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MANILA, Philippines – One way retail brands choose to expand their presence around Metro Manila isn’t just by opening more branches; for some, it’s about venturing into a totally new territory, such as the food and beverage industry.
Taking along the popularity of their names and aesthetically-pleasing brand identities, here are a few homegrown and international brands that have grown into their own IG-worthy cafés, restaurants, and coffee shops, serving pastries, coffee, and even hot meals!
BENCH Café – a full-blown Filipino restaurant that’s more than a café – opened its first branch in January 2018 at the 2/F Bench Flagship Store, 9th Avenue corner Lane O in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, following the success of Filipino clothing brand founded by Ben Chan in 1987.
BENCH Café is helmed by resto group FooDee Global Concepts and celebrity chef Carlo Miguel.
According to Chan, BENCH decided to expand the “Bench universe” by opening a flagship store to celebrate the brand’s 30th anniversary. On the website, BENCH Café’s menu aims to “champion Filipino pride and creativity through its modern take on Filipino tradition and unique yet familiar dishes,” aligned with the clothing brand’s #LoveLocal and #EverydayBench taglines.
Some dishes mentioned are Bicol Express, Chicharon Chicken, Inasal Liempo, Tortang Longganisa, and Lechon Baka, and classic desserts like Turon, Bananacue, and Maja Blanca Crumble, as well as BENCH’s signature Bench Special Halo-Halo.
BENCH Café has another branch in Greenbelt 3, Makati City, among other locations. BENCH also established its Bench Fix Salon chain in 2001.
7-Eleven’s Café Reserve
7-Eleven is already known for its affordable City Blends brewed coffee line, but the convenience store chain hasn’t stopped there! In January, 7-Eleven launched Café Reserve, a gourmet coffee concept store located inside its branch in Parc Chateau Condominium, Sapphire Road, Pasig City.
The casual space has its own counter for dine-in or take-out coffee orders, plus tables and chairs for dine-in customers. The coffee is made from Ethiopian beans, and the pastries (like croissants and pan de sal) are freshly-baked at certain hours of the day. You can also try the matcha!
harlan + holden coffee
Apparently, it’s not named “Because Coffee,” even if this is what’s plastered on the BGC coffee shop’s exteriors. It’s actually the tagline of harlan + holden coffee, the sophisticated cafe concept of local fashion brand harlan + holden.
After the brand was founded in 2015, harlan + holden coffee opened its first IG-favorite branch in 2019 at One Bonifacio High Street, BGC – a high-ceiling, sleek, minimalist, estetik space with an iconic fig tree in the middle. It’s known for its freshly-roasted, house blend of Brazilian and Ethiopian beans, as well as the Sea Salt Latte, Cream Latte, Brown Sugar Latte, Matcha Latte, and decaf options. There are also cookies, brownies, and savory pies available.
In December, harlan + holden coffee opened its new flagship branch in 28th Street corner 3rd Avenue, which boasts two floors to accommodate more dine-in customers.
“harlan + holden has a singular mission; to save people time for things that matter. Our mission manifests itself in every product we create, from clothes to coffee,” the local, mid-luxury clothing brand said. harlan + holden promotes time-saving, sustainable pieces in clean cuts and simple designs. It has branches in Power Plant Mall, Shangri-La Plaza, Greenbelt 5, Trinoma, and even in Indonesia.
“Kung may ‘statement shirts,’ bakit ‘di tayo gumawa ng ‘statement coffee’?” Linya-Linya’s team wondered in 2019. Four years later, Kape-Kape Linya-Linya was born! Linya-Linya, the Filipino brand of the wittiest T-shirts and quirky merch, now serves coffee, alongside more witty puns.
Linya-Linya’s first coffee counter is located at Puddy Rock Studio, a new indoor children playground founded by Saab Magalona-Bacarro and Jim Bacarro located on the 5th Level, East Wing of Shangri-La Plaza Mall. Every coffee order is served with your chosen witty, relatable, and distinctly Pinoy statement that’ll make you chuckle.
Linya-Linya’s coffee is made with its own special Arabica-Robusta blend from Silang, Cavite, with flavor profiles of nuts, chocolate, and earthy grains with a well-rounded body. They call it: Katam-tama Roast.
The menu is simple for now – cafe mocha, latte, and cappuccino – but Linya-Linya is working on more beverages, pastries, and even coffee bean bags available soon.
Japanese casual wear brand UNIQLO finally brought UNIQLO Coffee to the Philippines last October, opening its first branch in Glorietta 5, Makati City to celebrate the huge flagship store’s five-year anniversary.
The dine-in café serves caffeinated classics like Americano, Cafe Latte, Spanish Latte, and caffeine-free Hot Chocolate. Its coffee beans are sourced from the farmers of Mt. Apo, ensuring both the “quality” of their brews and their “commitment to support local communities.”
Pastries “that mix Filipino and Japanese flavors” are also on the menu, ranging from sweet and savory items like Cookies, Smoked Salmon Panini, Filipino Pan de Sal, and Japanese An Pan (red bean roll).
UNIQLO Coffee’s first Philippine branch comes over two years after UNIQLO Coffee opened at its 12-story Ginza location in Tokyo, Japan. The coffee spot is known for its minimalist interiors, as well as its budget-friendly prices.
The minimalist Japanese lifestyle brand opened its first MUJI Coffee branch in 2022 at Central Square, Bonifacio Global City, featuring a sleek coffee counter where dine-in customers can enjoy a cuppa within a “clean and calm environment.” The brand uses environmentally sustainable, Rainforest Alliance-certified coffee beans and tea leaves, and offers oat milk as an alternative.
MUJI’s beans blend is based in Brazil and Honduras, resulting in hot and iced beverages made from a dark roast coffee with a round body and nutty and cacao notes, “producing a well-balanced flavor with a slightly smoky aftertaste.”
MUJI Coffee quickly expanded to branches in SM Mall of Asia, Shangri-La Plaza, and SM North EDSA. The North EDSA branch was the first to serve a variety of Asian curry pouches in-store, while the MOA branch is the only branch so far that serves MUJI’s Hokkaido soft-serve ice cream with Benguet espresso, chocolate sauce, and other toppings.
Not to be confused with the BGC and SM Megamall restaurant Sunnies Cafe, Sunnies Coffee is the brand’s new specialty coffee shop (formerly Cup Point), a minimalist stall located in select Sunnies Studios stores.
Sunnies Coffee opened in September, and now has three branches in Glorietta 2, Festival Mall, and Robinsons Magnolia. The coffee counter takes pride in its Out of Office Blend, which is 100% Arabica coffee beans from Brazil and Costa Rica, with a medium dark-roasted and balanced flavor.
Sunnies Coffee serves espresso, americano, honey latte, salted vanilla latte, Spanish latte, caramel macchiato, chocolate, matcha, iced tea, and other drinks. – Rappler.com