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A New Brew: Gapan café captures hearts of NE customers 

Taste & Brew offers local savory dishes as well as cafe fare such as sandwiches and pasta.

The new year signals a clean slate and a fresh start for many — especially for micro, small, and medium businesses that are now ready to take on the challenges and changed tastes of a post-pandemic, consumer-driven market.

Such is the situation now confronting a newly opened, Gapan-based café Taste & Brew that is actually being ‘remotely run’ thanks to fiber-powered internet by Converge.

Vheng Roberto manages two NE-based businesses in the F&B industry – Heavenly Taste and Taste & Brew – catering to the diners of the smaller town of Pambuan, and the town center in San Lorenzo, Gapan.

For proprietor Vheng Roberto, the MSME of today cannot cheap out on technology. In her case, she is also a full-time and Manila-based employee aside from being a business owner.  She is able to run her businesses in Nueva Ecija only through remote surveillance and management. 

“Every weekend lang ako andito (sa Nueva Ecija). Nagchecheck lang ako sa staff, kitchen, and bar ko via CCTV. Kaya ang unang una ko pinalagay dito internet para mamonitor ko lahat. Yan talaga nakatulong sa akin kahit malayo ako dito, I can supervise the customer service,” said Roberto. 

This is how she’s able to make sure she can ‘attend to diners’ even if she’s in Manila, and can make the suggestions to her staff. 

A strong, fiber-based connection is needed to power her CCTV system, which is installed in her two businesses: her restaurant called Heavenly Taste in Pambuan, Gapan and Taste & Brew nearer the town center in San Lorenzo, Gapan.

Business owner / full time worker Vheng Roberto manages her Nueva Ecija-based business from Manila but often visits during the weekend, making possible the flexibility to run operations remotely.

Both businesses were borne out of her passion to serve her communities, and she’s far from disappointed on how they’re doing. Taste & Brew, which just opened in December 2023, is what she fondly calls a ‘kapemilya’ – a cafe that draws whole families together, not just the solitary patron. 

“The food, coffee, and ambiance ang nakakapagpabalik sa customers. And hindi lang dalawa o tatlong tao, pero mga buong pamilya. Kahit bago kami dito sa bayan, madami na agad at binabalik-balikan kami,” she added. 

A wifi connection is a non-negotiable for a small business, and this proves to be a good investment too for the cafe.Students and remote workers often hang out in her cafe so she has to secure a seamless internet connection provided by Converge. 

And of course, for small businesses, word-of-mouth is a key marketing tool so they make sure their internet is on-point when influencers or vloggers drop by for coffee and a meal. 

“There has been a vlogger or two who’s always posting about Taste & Brew and doon sa isang shop ko. Nakakatulong sa negosyo,” she noted.