The Restauranteur At Café Breton – Tony Cancio

"We didn’t start out with a blueprint but we thought and dreamt a lot about how we wanted it to be." - Tony Cancio of Café Breton

Infusing Professionalism in the Business

Café Breton’s owners Tony Cancio [LSGH Batch 1982] and wife Mariela believed strongly enough in their dreams to establish a soulful café as well as a middle place. This middle place, as Tony calls it, is the place to go to in between office and home where you have time to collect your thoughts and take a break from life.

From the beginning, Tony and Mariela had a concept, a strong feeling about how exactly their quaint little café should be run. They hired people not for their experience but for their attitude and trainability in order to impart their own brand of service and culture to all their guests. In fact, it was more important to hire people with a very cozy and caring attitude toward customers rather than getting experienced workers who did not have a genuine caring for their jobs.

The couple believes that the business has grown and thrived because of a simple idea that sparked their inspiration and a whole lot of sweat. Tony recalled the time when they were just starting and for two years straight they were at the café every single day, closing at four in the morning.

And so, Café Breton was eventually born. From that little café in Maria Orosa in Malate, Café Breton has now grown to eight branches – Tomas Morato, The Podium, Greenbelt 3, Pasong Tamo, Westgate in Alabang, Paseo de Santa Rosa in Laguna, at the Cliffhouse in Tagaytay, Mall of Asia along Roxas Blvd and the latest one in Ayala Mall the 30th in Pasig.

Despite the success of Café Breton, the Green blooded restaurateur is not resting on his laurels. Over the years the challenge has become how to effectively handle the multiple branches the same way they managed their first little café. It’s extremely important to have the same quality of food and service, warm ambience that Café Breton has become famous for present in each and every Café Breton branch that opens.

Wow Mr. Chow

Tony laments that they hardly have time to have meals at home because they’re always on the road to visit their outlets. They have come to enjoy a number of restaurants that put a lot of soul into their food preparation.

“We’ve come to meet and become close to a lot of chefs who run their restaurants and cafes on a daily basis.” Their analogous passions formed an instant rapport. He realized that these chefs effortlessly translate their menu into great dishes without pretensions.

As a result, he gleaned all the knowledge he could and set off to explore in his favourite restaurants – Antonio’s in Tagaytay, Je Suis Gourmand by Mark Aubry at The Fort; Italian resaurants L’opera and Pagliacci – to experience the culinary culture first hand.

“In our case, we started out small and built our way up. We didn’t start out with a blueprint but we thought and dreamt a lot about how we wanted it to be. I think as an entrepreneur sometimes you have a passion for something to work on, but many times you have to find the passion in your idea and latch onto that, let it be the wind in your sails. If you thought of everything that could go wrong, then, you’d get stuck and focus on those things that don’t give you forward movement.”

“Inspire yourself by thinking of things that need to go right but keep in your peripheral vision the things that need to go right but keep in your peripheral vision the things that you need to watch out for,” Tony ends with comforting assurance. 

Article was originally published in 2005



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