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Ricky Laudico – Out of the Basement into the frying pan

Ricky Laudico probably got his inspiration for his Marciano’s Restaurant (located on the second floor of Greenbelt 3 in Makati) from Rocky Marciano who is perhaps the greatest Italian-American Boxer who proved that dreams do come true.

Ricky Laudico probably got his inspiration for his Marciano’s  Restaurant (located on the second floor of  Greenbelt 3 in Makati) from Rocky Marciano who is perhaps the greatest Italian-American Boxer who proved that dreams do come true.

After high school at LSGH in 1989 and Laudico did not know what he wanted to take up in college or even where to pursue his studies.  One day, he wanted to be a lawyer, another day, a doctor and when nurses became in demand, his mother wanted him to be one. 

Like everyone from his batch, Laudico took the entrance exams at De La Salle University but when the results came out, he was told that he was accepted into the College of St. Benilde (CSB) . Back then, CSB had the reputation of being a school for college drop-outs, and it had a negative monicker – La Salle Taft. He certainly did not want to be branded as a poor student, so CSB was not an option. 

With no clear direction on what to take up in college, he decided to go to the then called CRC, (now called the University of Asia and the Pacific or UAP), since this was closer to where he lived. There he became a regular student and Laudico admitted that did not actually shine in anything.

After college, he thought he was ready for the corporate life. Laudico recalls, “I must have prepared a thousand resumes’, every week, I would then park my car in a side street in Makati and walked from building to building giving out his bio-data to the guards, hoping that it will reach the personnel manager, I even doubt if any of those resumes actually end up with the personnel manager”.

This went on for nine years. He was jobless and still living in the basement of his dad’s house. He tried out his hand in a business but failed. Yet he knew that he had what it takes to succeed. He would look at the businesses around and analyze why this business is prospering and why it is not. “ I then took up my MBA at the University of the Philippines, thinking that it may be the reason why I was not getting any job offer” Laudico mentioned. 

With his MBA credentials in his resume, Laudico tries to find employment again. He then gets a call from a call center for an interview. His first interview was at 11 in the evening, the second was at 1 AM and the last was at 3 AM. By the end of the last interview, he was told that he has been accepted and was offered a good salary — for someone who is single. At this time, Laudico was already married with a child and still living in the basement of his Dad’s house. The salary offer was just not enough to support his family. So in the end, he could not accept the job offer.

His Dad being into the real estate business, Laudico tried that for a while. He did well at first, but then the Asian financial crisis struck, and the market just dried out.

He has no choice but to look for a job again. 

One day, he bumps into one of his real-estate clients, Mecoy Quiogue, then VP Sales and Marketing of GMA-7, who asked for his resume.  Days later, he receives a call for an interview. He shows up at GMA-7 an hour early. Too early, that the guards would not let him up yet. So he goes back to his car to wait. But then, it suddenly rained really hard. And he did not have an umbrella, not wanting to be late, he ran from his parked car to the lobby of GMA-7 and by that time, he was soaking wet and looked like a wet rag. He was shivering while taking the exams, goes home, and waits.

Nine months later, he receives a call from GMA-7, and finally at 31 years old, gets his first job as a Sales and Marketing Manager.  Laudico finally gets his first break that he has been looking for. “I owe a lot to Mecoy, I shall forever be indebted to him for the break he gave me”, Laudico laments.

He did good in the TV advertising industry. “We received big commissions, and since, I was still living in my Dad’s basement and using his car, I was able to save a lot, marunong akong mag-ipon”, he fondly recalls.

He then meets Raymund Magdaluyo of Red Crab and multi-awarded actor Marvin Agustin. They become friends and things just fell into place. Agustin wanted to open a restaurant. Magdaluyo mentions that there is a place in the Shangrila mall that is being offered to him. And Laudico felt that he was ready to do this. He was able to save most of his money from his sales commissions. He still had commissions coming his way in the next few months. And with that, SumoSam was born in December 2005. It became an overnight success.

By May 2006, Laudico saw that he can not be a businessman and still be employed, he then takes another leap of faith and resigns from GMA-7.

In the next few years, Laudico and his partners open one restaurant after another. SumoSam has over 30 branches, John and Yoko restaurant is at GreenBelt and Alabang Town Center, Mr. Kurosawa in Eastwood and on the 2nd level of Resorts World, Newport Mall, Pasay City.

Later came Marciano’s in Greenbelt and Akira in Shangrila Mall, which offers a true-blue teppanyaki grill experience featuring premium US Wagyu, US rib-eye, US tenderloin, Japanese Wagyu, and Kobe beef, among others.  Akira is located in Burgos and Robinson Magnolia.

Balboa in Shangrila Mall boasts of delectable Italian-American pizza, pasta, and steak choices. Named after Rocky, the character portrayed by actor Sylvester Stallone in the movies, this first-class, casual dining restaurant also boasts of sophisticated and stylish interior design. There is also Dekada in Glorietta 2  and soon, Banzai which is conceived to be a great Teppanyaki Theater. In total, Laudico and his business partners have nearly 50 restaurants and counting.

A couple of years after taking that leap of faith, Laudico and his growing family soon leaves the basement of his Dad’s home. Like Rocky Marciano, his dreams have come true. But he continues to dream about new and better concepts for his future restaurants.

The dream lives on.

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