Leche flan turns college buddies into business partners

    The trio behind D’Flan (from left) Lacson, Dela Peña and Sy.
    The trio behind D’Flan (from left) Lacson, Dela Peña and Sy.

    Plans conceived in the middle of a drinking party, more often than not, are left in limbo with no chance of becoming a reality.

    Such is not the case for D’Flan Dessert House, a recently established desserts and comfort food place in Manila which was conceived among friends over bottles of beer.

    “My business partners Zef dela Peña and John Cyrus Lacson are two of my closest friends. We’ve had this dream since college of putting up our own business, a place where we could hang out and chill together when we’re older,” said San-Jrel Sy, co-owner of the shop located in one of the Malate’s busiest streets.

    One night, as in any other drinking nights, on a whim, one of the three friends broached the idea of starting a business. Throughout that night, the three talked about what type of industry they would venture into, and thought of expanding Dela Peña’s existing neighborhood “sideline” during the holidays, selling leche flan and other sweets.

    The very next day, the trio set up another meeting to firm up the plans.

    “We just thought – why not revive it, develop the product and create more value out of it? Behind our business name is our mission and pledge to our customers that what we sell isn’t just any other leche flan but is THE flan they would choose over others,” Sy said.
    Initial funding came from the pooled savings of the three but more capital were infused through bank loans.

    Apart from leche flan, the star product, which now comes in different flavors, D’Flan also offers a selection of milktea, coffee, finger foods, sandwiches, pasta and rice meals.

    Sy said D’Flan has received numerous inquiries for franchising opportunities. The group however believes they are still into further improving D’Flan’s systems to ensure top quality service.

    Sy also believes that it is very important to cover the millennial market properly, a big percentage of D’Flan’s clients being millennials.

    “We are millennials ourselves so we would like to think we understand the market on a personal level… Social media influence is the new marketing strategy that really works especially for a start-up. One post can change the game for any business and that’s why we focus our marketing on social media campaigns from Facebook to Instagram. We also do traditional promo coupon giveaways,” Sy said.

    Sy and his business partners see D’Flan as an authority when it comes to leche flan and its varieties. The group plans to have more branches across the National Capital Region in the next five years and eventually developing a nationwide reach.


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