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BAMBI DEL ROSARIO-YOUNG General Manager/Restaurateur Icebergs

BAMBI DEL ROSARIO-YOUNG General Manager/Restaurateur Icebergs

“We immediately met all requirements to secure safety seals from the government.”

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POPULAR local dessert, the halo-halo, is almost in every Filipino restaurant around town. However, there is one restaurant that takes pride in its halo-halo for more than three decades now.

Long before most restaurants and fast-food joints offered halo-halo as a regular fixture, Icebergs, the popular local diner, made the dessert a staple in its menu. The halo-halo was always a must-have by Icebergs customers — for 36 years now — apart from its traditional Filipino dishes.

The widely patronized eating place was started by Juliet Young in 1986 as her way to pass the time as her children grew older. Today, Icebergs remains strongly a “family business” led by Young’s son, Allan, who is the president, and his wife, Bambi Del Rosario-Young, the general manager.

The pandemic certainly affected Icebergs’ business. Some branches were inevitably closed down and workers were laid off. “Unfortunately, some employees we had to let go,” Del Rosario-Young laments. “There were employees who resigned to go back to their respective provinces. But now that the economy is improving, we are contacting some to return and work for Icebergs again.”

OLD FAVORITES Del Rosario-Young and her team are back with a vengeance

OLD FAVORITES Del Rosario-Young and her team are back with a vengeance

The model-entrepreneur in Morocco

The model-entrepreneur in Morocco

Halo-halo and sig as you recall.  CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

Halo-halo and sig as you recall. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

Understandably, Icebergs encountered challenges in its restaurant business, especially during this pandemic, and her team had to make significant adjustments. “People were afraid to go out, so our sales took a deep dive,” she says. “I had to make all of our branches go onboard to different delivery platforms and offer cashless payment options. We also streamlined our menu and reduced manpower to lower our OPEX (operational expenditure). To make our customers and staff feel safe, we immediately met all requirements to secure safety seals from the government.”

Today, there are 14 branches of Icebergs — with 11 around Metro Manila, one in Kawit, Cavite, and two in Tacloban City in Leyte. “Things are going back to normal, and I am praying that the pandemic will be finally over,” says Del Rosario-Young.

Through the years, the stylish executive has dealt with loyal, regular and even new customers at Icebergs with the trademark service now when they are working in the new normal. “We treat all of our customers the same, with our friendly service,” she says, believing that it is one way to maintain the customer’s patronage or loyalty. “I often hear stories of our customers’ family tradition eating at Icebergs being passed onto the next generation,” she asserts. “These repeat customers give me joy and pride that we have been doing something right for 36 years.”

Even while working at Icebergs, Del Rosario-Young has managed to venture into other businesses that complemented her other interests. She previously hosted a cooking show, “Wholesome Meals, Better Life,” that ran for seven seasons on CNN Philippines and wrapped up in 2020.

Apart from that, she is a content creator. “I create content at @HappyGoBambi. That serves as my creative outlet and means of communicating with my small community of around 300,000 followers on Facebook and 85,000 on Instagram.”

Her initial childhood ambition was to become a model. In fact, her first taste of her income was when she bagged a cool P50,000 for winning a modeling competition right after college.

She wanted to really become a model early on. “I achieved that in my own standard, but I realized that people evolve,” she admits. “Now, I am focused on being an entrepreneur.”

Del Rosario-Young took up Business Administration in Human Resources Management at De La Salle University-College of St. Benilde. “After marriage, I handled Icebergs’ HR (human resources) Department for a time,” she says. “I took up Food Science, a special course at Penn State University, USA to manufacture our own ice cream in Icebergs. That improved the quality of our ice cream while reducing the cost.”

Keeping a balance between work and home is not too much of a headache for her. “I have days focused on work and days focused on my family,” she says. “The keyword is focus. Whatever I do, I should be present at the moment.”

As much as possible, she keeps her schedule flexible. However, on weekends, her two kids take the turf. “Usually, I have a meal with family, coffee with my husband, then work until late at night,” she says. “On weekends, I do what my kids want.

“A typical family bonding day for us is going to the bookstore, arcade, café and then have dinner at a restaurant. My alone time is usually K-dramathon at home. During longer break times, we go to our rest house in Tagaytay. I miss traveling the most. [to] go to either Japan or Korea and eat at the restaurants I enjoyed before and missed.”

Her family — husband Allan and children, Annika and Laszlo — travels for leisure and food trips. “My last international destination was Singapore in November 2019 with my family,” Del Rosario-Young says. “I work with my husband almost every day and he is also my biggest supporter. Allan always tells me, ‘You may worry now, but I’m sure you will do well.’ His confidence in him inspires me to be my best self.”

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