Lita Fried Chicken Stall

“Just because you took longer than others do not mean you failed. Remember that.” This quote is famously attributed to the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), Colonel Sanders.  He was 65 years old when he established KFC and began franchising the restaurant concept, ultimately achieving remarkable success.  This is parallel with the story of Leonardo Catanghal, whose experience embodies a similar narrative of perseverance and eventual triumph, offering an inspiring tale for anyone seeking motivation.

Leonardo’s entrepreneurial journey began by selling fruits, vegetables, and frozen meat in the nearby market.  Over time, his children followed, engaging in similar entrepreneurial endeavors. 

In 2019, Leonardo thought of exploring another business venture. He took the risk of setting up a mobile fried chicken store and named it Lita Fried Chicken. His setup catered to the crowded areas in their barangay. Starting from scratch, Leonardo watched videos, practiced cooking techniques, and experimented tirelessly to perfect his fried chicken recipe.  His dedication and hard work paid off as Lita Fried Chicken became a hit and thrived.  The business did not only support his family but also reflected his passion for culinary.

Business was not easy for him, though. Along the way, he encountered several challenges, especially in perfecting his chicken recipe.  Also, since his name was not well-known, he initially struggled with a low customer turnout.  However, Leonardo’s determination to support his family including his grandchildren fueled his strength to persist.  Eventually, he discovered the perfect formula, not just for his chicken, but also for gaining customers’ trust through their taste buds.

In 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the business faced hurdles as people could not go out.  They began ordering food through deliveries, causing a sharp decline from nearly 40-50 customers a day to almost none.  Leonardo and his family then relied on his wife’s small sari-sari store at home and started selling products online.

When the situation eased a bit in June 2022 Leonardo found a permanent place in Oval Dapdap, through their barangay council project, which provided vendors an area with a relatively larger market and high foot traffic.  Since it is a local government initiative, only a minimal fee was required and there was a need to register their business.

Through former Business Counselor Erica Turla, Leonardo was able to formalize his business and named it Lita Fried Chicken Stall, after his wife, Carmelita.

Fortunately, after he registered, he was chosen by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Local Government Unit (LGU) to become a beneficiary of the Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa (PPG), a program aimed at supporting individuals and families impacted by fire incidents and various calamities, including health disasters such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative aims to facilitate the recovery and business re-establishment for those affected.  Through this program, Leonardo received an LPG tank, a heavy-duty burner, ice box, and a monobloc table and chairs.  These items greatly improved his production process, making cooking easier and faster during the pandemic recovery period.

With his delicious fried chickens, Leonardo was able to attract more customers and despite facing stiff competition, he remained the preferred choice of his regular customers.  He managed to sell nearly 30 kilos of chicken a day, an increase of up to 200%. From just P500.00, he managed to earn a profit of P1,500 a day.

Just like Colonel Sanders, Leonardo did not give up.  “Do not give up. Even though the earnings are modest at first, you just need a strong resolve to succeed,” he said.

Customers did not just come for the delicious chicken, they came for the warm smiles, the stories shared, and the sense of belonging.  This success was not just measured in profits but the joy spread through every crispy bite.  And that was how Leonardo’s fried chicken stall became a legendary tale of savory triumph.

Leonardo is continuously in contact with the Negosyo Center and his next step is product development focusing on logo and label designs. ♦

Date of release: 12 February 2024