Nida’s Story: Starting a Restaurant Business in Canada

“Starting a restaurant business in Canada is certainly not for the faint-hearted. It requires an entrepreneurial mind, hard work, sacrifice, and patience.,” says Fresh Cravings restaurant co-owner Nida.

Today, we will learn about Nida’s Canadian immigrant story and how she surpassed the challenges of setting up a restaurant.

Managing a Restaurant Business
Nida at Work

Life Before Immigration to Canada

Nida hailed from a town in the northern Philippines where her father ran a family shoe business. This business gave her the skills, knowledge, and experiences that she needed later in life. At a tender age, Nida and her siblings were exposed to meeting people from different walks of life. They learned how to communicate, entertain, convince customers, and close sales. They also learned other tasks such as pricing, tagging, and organizing.

Nida is a pharmacist by education but owning a business was never far from her mind. When she moved to the capital city of Manila, Philippines, she and her siblings had the chance to run their own business together. They were able to apply what they have learned from their experience in the province.

Melon Shake and Menu at Fresh Cravings

Moving to Canada

In 2009, Nida arrived in Canada to care for her mother. She was among the last in her family to come to Canada.

Despite her background, Nida’s path to business was not straightforward. She dabbled in different part-time jobs in packaging, retail stores Rocky Mountain Chocolates and Asian groceries, and Amazon. She also got a job aligned with her profession as a pharmacist.

Fresh Cravings All-Day Breakfast Restaurant
Fresh Cravings All-Day Breakfast Restaurant

Starting a Restaurant Business in Canada

Her plans in Canada did not include starting a restaurant business. However, her family’s entrepreneurial background has a strong influence on her. She credits her father’s business mind and the business environment she grew up in as catalysts in her career change.

In 2018, Nida and her 3 siblings established Fresh Cravings all-day breakfast restaurant in Delta, British Columbia. Their goal was to fulfill one of man’s basic needs – the need for food. This mission was fuelled by their passion to create a new concept of breakfast experience. It was supported by the confidence, knowledge, and experience they gained in the Philippines.

Through numerous iterations of brainstorming and taste-testing, Fresh Cravings’ sumptuous menu was born. Since then, they have been serving hearty breakfast to their customers’ delight.

Fulfilling Government Requirements in Canada

Although Nida and her siblings had exposure to managing a business, the legal environment in Canada was something new to them. They had to learn the ropes of doing business in Canada. These include fulfilling government requirements like:

  • Creating a business plan
  • Choosing a location
  • Registering the restaurant business
  • Applying for permits and licenses
  • Preparing for the inspection process
  • Hiring employees

Surpassing the Challenges of a Global Pandemic

The global pandemic that rocked most business landscapes did not leave Nida and Fresh Cravings unscathed. For almost 2 years, their operations were on and off. Authorities’ ban on indoor dining forced them to close at times. As a result, the sales became very unstable while basic expenses such as rentals and utility bills remained constant.

But, Nida and her siblings did not let these difficulties deter them.

They slowly coped with the new business guidelines in Canada. They implemented Covid-19 measures, modified their menus, and found ways of serving their customers beyond the regular dining and delivery options.

Delicious Breakfast

Gaining Recognition from Customers

All the hard work, sacrifices, and patience paid off. After only 3 years of operation, the restaurant has found its niche in the community. The North Delta Reporters group recognized Fresh Cravings in two categories of the Reader’s Choice 2021. They were voted silver in Best Breakfast & Brunch as well as Best Family-Friendly Restaurant.

Nida shares how they were able to do it: “First, your strong desire to do the business must be incorporated with a strong business concept and some initial funding. Then, you must build your decisiveness, team-building skills, risk tolerance, persistence, and flexibility.”

Starting a restaurant business is not easy. But, it is fulfilling.

Note: Food photos courtesy of Fresh Cravings

Update: Nida and her siblings decided to sell their business recently.

Were you inspired by this story?  Please help spread the word about this blog as a way of helping newcomers in Canada find inspiration as well.  Thank you!

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