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Posted on 1 May 2008

Marlon Estabillo: Managing for Success

Filipinos are highly regarded for their warm hospitality and natural friendliness which accentuate their interpersonal skills. Those in America find these skills advantageous, coupled with their customer service abilities.

“Customer service skills is a must in the hospitality and dining business,” said Marlon Estabillo, manager at Charleys Grilled Subs at the Sawgrass Mills Mall, a popular shopping destination in South Florida.

Marlon Estabillo manages Charleys Grilled Subs at the Garden Foodcourt, Sawgrass Mall in Sunrise, Florida.
The former Broward school system cook is originally from General Santos City, South Cotabato. He had been managing the restaurant close to a year and has seen it grow its local following. “Customers look for good service,” said Estabillo. “Hindi lang pagkain ang gusto nila. Gusto nila mabuting serbisyo (Aside from food, they like great service).”

Marlon Estabillo caters to Filipino businessman Vic Layug, president of Sunshine Realty, Inc.

Among the keys to successfully operating a restaurant are good management and training. “Malaking bagay din ang training (Training is important). My boss is a good guy he sent me to train in Ohio for two weeks,” said Estabillo. “Efficiency is vital in performing management functions at both front and back offices.”
Foremost among Estabillo’s responsibilities are employee scheduling and customer service. “I make sure we have the level of staff needed at all times. I also see to it that customers are serviced appropriately at all times so that they come back as regular clients,” Estabillo explained.

Filipinos in South Florida had taken notice of the restaurant. “We have regular Filipino customers, a lot of them are really proud that we have a Filipino owned and managed restaurant in one of the largest prime malls in South Florida,” said Estabillo.

Estabillo never misses a trick in building his Filipino clientele. “Pag may Filipino dumadaan, tinatawag ko, ‘Kabayan kain na dito!’ Minsan nga lang, hindi pala Pinoy!” chuckled Estabillo. (If one is passing by and looks like a Filipino, I call their attention and invite them over. At times however, they turn out not to be Filipino!)

The Charley’s Grilled Subs restaurant located at the Sawgrass Mills Mall in Sunrise, Florida is independently owned and operated by Filipino American businessman Jim Chiu. Charley’s Grilled Subs, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, has over 300 locations in 39 states and 11 countries. It is best known for its made-to-order, signature Philly Cheese Steak and other steak, chicken and deli subs, gourmet fries and freshly squeezed lemonades. The restaurant chain has been recognized at the top of more than ten national lists for successful franchising, entrepreneurship and management in its 21 years of business.

“My advice to managers of any business is to treat their customers like how they want to be treated themselves,” said Estabillo. “When customers buy your products, they are really buying the experience of having your product and the service you provide!” (BASTA PINOY NEWS)
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