If you are a fan of lechon, specifically Lechon de Cebu, you have probably heard of Rico’s Lechon at one point or another.
Rico’s Lechon has become a household name when it comes to roasted pig in the Philippines but their story of success is one that was not easily achieved right away. In fact, it took many years of hard work from the founder, Mr. Enrico ‘Rico’ Dionson, to take the business to where it currently is.
If you want to get to know a little bit more about your favorite brand of lechon de Cebu, here are some trivial facts that might interest you:
- Rico’s Lechon founder started from humble beginnings as a taker of bets in a cockfight arena. He worked there for two decades to support his family.
- He ventured into the lechon business in 1997 by experimenting and developing ways to create the best-tasting lechon.
- His lechon recipe was not always perfect. His first customer feedback told him his lechon was too salty and that it just needed water to turn it into the sea.
- Rico’s Lechon’s slogan, ‘Da Best Gyud’, came from Mr. Dionson’s vow to make each of his lechon at the best quality.
- Former President Joseph Estrada declared Rico’s Lechon to be his personal favorite and asked Mr. Dionson to cook several lechons at the Malacañang Palace.
- Rico’s Lechon started out selling only around 2 to 3 lechon pieces each week. Today, it sells somewhere around 2,000 to 4,000 pieces each month.
- Rico’s Lechon is the pioneer of the spicy lechon variety, as it was Mr. Dionson’s quest to keep satisfying his customers.
- Rico’s Lechon is a favorite among politicians, celebrities and prominent people in the country.
- Sharon Cuneta, who is a huge fan of Carcar lechon, is among the list of famous customers of Rico’s Lechon. Other celebrity customers include Kris Aquino, the Banana Split crew, Aiza Seguerra and Liza Diño-Seguerra, Liberal Party politicians, Kuya Kim Atienza, Solenn Heusaff, Grace Poe, Sam Oh and many more.
- In the middle of the campaign period, it was at the Rico’s Lechon Mactan Promenade branch that President Rodrigo Duterte and his team held the surprise birthday celebration for his ex-wife Elizabeth Zimmermann. The restaurant served around 300 lechon lovers during that event.
- The company currently serves its dining customers through two restaurants: the Mabolo and Mactan Promenade branches.
- The Mactan Promenade branch was opened after the unveiling of Rico’s Lechon’s rebranding.
- Rico’s Lechon’s new logo was done by Maverick Ideas. The new logo sports its mascot holding a bamboo pole of silis, to highlight that they are the pioneer of the spicy lechon variety. ‘Cebu’s Best’ is also part of the logo to show everyone that everything that comes from them can be considered the best of Cebu.
- The opening of the Mactan Promenade restaurant was also the time for the unveiling of the company’s new menu. Rico’s Lechon hired a food technologist to reinvent their menu items and also had experts in the food service industry to train their management and staff.
- The company’s new corporate office was also set-up and is located in One Paseo in Maria Luisa along Banilad.
- A brand new corporate was also introduced, which was designed by renowned Cebu-based designer Mary Ty.
- Rico’s management is manned by everyone in the family: Melanie Grace Dionson-Oyas as General Manager of the Restaurant Division, Susan Claire Dionson-Gabuya as General Manager of the Corporate Office, Jef Walther Oyas as Head of Sales and Marketing and Renz Ericson Monet Gabuya as Head of Purchasing. Only their youngest daughter, who is still in college, does not have a role in the family business.
- Rico’s Lechon diners can listen to the company’s new jingle which highlights their ‘Da Best Gyud’ slogan. The original song was composed by FAMAS award-winning songwriter, Lorenzo ‘Insoy’ Niñal.
- Aside from their original jingle, Rico’s restaurants will also showcase fresh new Cebuano music by partnering with the group ArtistKo, to show their support for fresh Cebuano talent.
- Their restaurant staff will also be sporting new attire, all designed and produced by renowned and sought-after designer Dino Lloren.
- The visual inspiration for Rico’s Lechon’s Mactan Promenade restaurant is “Old Cebu with a twist”. It was interior designer Sheila Solon who made sure it was felt all throughout the restaurant.
- The company website is also undergoing a major overhaul to further facilitate easy ordering for their customers who are outside of Cebu and even outside of the country.
- Mr. Dionson still gives out his personal mobile number to close friends (and even some members of the media) so that he can personally facilitate their orders. His daughters, however, discourage people from doing so as their father often forgets orders being requested from him.