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Kitchen is not a strange world for Mackie Peneyra and growing up from a family with burning passion for cooking had easily made up her mind that opening a restaurant will be her future.

Mackie’s family loves to travel and satisfy their taste buds with different cuisine abroad. But the summer of 2018 surprisingly opened a door for her, igniting her childhood dream.

“When we were given the chance to visit Thailand in the summer of 2018, we immediately fell in love with the local food. Since my childhood dream is for me to have my own restaurant, I asked myself, “Why not venture in the food industry?”

However, Mackie admitted that it was not an easy journey for her as she faced struggles in fulfilling it.

“Of course, every dream has struggles. Obstacles and sort of hindrances were always present especially during the early parts of planning even until the final phases of construction. But if you’re focus and determined to reach your goals with the blessings of the Almighty, you’ll definitely win the fight,” she said.

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Working with her passion and determination, a small Thai restaurant named “Mackie’s” was born on August 20, 2019. After their search for a good location, they ended up renting a small space at A&A Plaza Hotel where its humble beginning started.

Serving locals with Thai cuisine

The family’s burning passion in cooking and their love of what they are doing made serving authentic Thai cuisine easy. Mackie described it as cooked out of love and passion.

Like any other restaurants, they get thrilled whenever customers loved their food and gave positive reviews. The positive feedbacks have inspired them to improve and learn new techniques to continuously satisfy their regular diners and see that ‘first timers’ will come back for more.

“We are also happy with what we are doing and is always delighted to know that our customers love our food! We always see to it that feedbacks from our diners are essential in order for us to further improve our craft. There’s a saying that ‘life is a continuous learning process’ that’s the very reason why we keep on researching on how to properly maintain the quality of our food since day one of our existence,” she said.

Aside from serving the best to their diners, trainings are also provided to their staff to be always attentive with the needs of their customers and treating them equally as all very important persons or VIPs.

The staff and management always ensure that they are pampering their diners and asking them how the food tastes, even the performance of their food servers as part of their growth and development.

Even with the standards set, Mackie’s also treat their staff as family members, which bonds them and brings harmonious relationship.

“Lastly, we treat our staff as family. We instill to them the value of caring not just to everybody but to their assigned tasks as well. They have this mindset that the owners do care for us, their products and services then there’s no reason for us to follow the same principle. This harmonious relationship normally ends up in a very productive outcome,” she said.

Seven months after the birth of Mackies, they opened up their second branch at the lower ground floor of the SM City Puerto Princesa and named as ‘House of Thai by Mackies’ on March 12, 2020. Even the restaurant’s named has change, the quality of food that they serve remained the same and just added up a number of sought-after Thai, Singaporean and Balinese cuisines to their menu.

The additional cuisines were proud products of their learning from their travels to Singapore and Bali, Indonesia in 2017 and 2019. A few months later, their branch at Robinson’s Place Palawan started to operate on December 8, 2020.

Pandemic as a challenge

Mackie admitted that like any other businesses, the onset of COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected their operation. They have to make some adjustments with different health protocols set by the government.

“Although there are lots of changes due to these unforeseen events, your House of Thai by Mackie’s continue to serve excellent and authentic Thai cuisine! We love challenges. Every day is a challenge. You just have to face these challenges squarely and everything good will definitely follow,” she said.

Despite embracing the new normal, the House of Thai by Mackie’s remained committed in providing good services to their diners and maintaining the quality of their cuisines served.

“We also know that our customers are our bosses so the welfare of our customers must come first, that way our staff has this great concern with regards to the satisfaction of our beloved diners. This make them come back and want more, I guess. The quality of our food is being monitored by yours truly and my husband does the talking,” she said.

Mackie and her husband personally ask feedbacks from their diners and attend to their needs, and even manage to have a short chitchat with them to make them more comfortable and special while at their place.

“These I think is very positive for them because they feel wanted and pampered. We just don’t satisfy their cravings, we also make them feel special. They are our guests and guests should be treated with utmost care and attention. We always remind our staff that the only problem that we will encounter daily is how to invite customers inside our restaurant. Once they are done eating, we know that they will definitely visit us back with friends and family in tow!”

Mackie believed that pandemic would not hamper their growth as they are set to
open up its newest branch at Banchetto sa Centro, located at Centro Hotel along the national highway in barangay San Pedro.

She added that aside from opening their store for late diners, they could also provide employment to locals of Palawan.

“We came up to this idea of opening up another branch outside the mall since there are lot of late diners wanting for some new tastes that can no longer be accommodated inside since the mall closes at nine in the evening,” she said.

“We were also able to provide employment to a number of individuals and they will be assigned at said third branch. To our valued clients, rest assured that your House of Thai by Mackies will continue to give you excellent service because that is our lifelong commitment. Truly God made this possible and we hope to see you all at the banchetto sa centro!”

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.