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5 Common Carinderia Business Problems And How To Solve Them

By Yesh Quijano    November 9, 2023       min read

Carinderias are exceptionally popular in the Philippines. These local eateries, known for serving a variety of tasty and affordable dishes, provide a means for many to make a living and serve their community.

However, just like any other business, carinderia owners often face challenges that affect their operations.

In this article, we’ll discuss some of these common challenges of carinderia and provide practical solutions tailored to the unique business culture and practices of this Filipino business.

Key Takeaways

  • Carinderia owners grapple with ingredient price fluctuations, low sales, and managing unsold food.

  • Competition with other carinderias and dealing with non-paying customers also present challenges.

  • Proactively responding to these issues helps ensure a successful and sustainable business.

Read more: How To Start A Carinderia Business.

Price Increases of Ingredients Due to Inflation

For carinderia owners, one major challenge is the rising cost of ingredients caused by inflation. This may cause a strain on your daily operations and affect your profitability.

It’s important to be aware of the factors that cause price increases, like oil prices or occurrence of natural calamities. For example, a super typhoon passing through Nueva Ecija (the country’s rice capital) may increase rice prices.

Solution: Adapt by finding cost-effective ingredient alternatives or adjusting your menu prices. Keep an eye on price trends, adjust your purchasing strategies, and maintain good supplier relationships to stay competitive in the face of price increases.

Low Sales

Low sales are often a glaring sign that something is amiss, but they are more a symptom than the problem. If your sales are dwindling, it’s time to dive deep and identify the underlying cause.

Menu & Taste Issues

Carinderias thrive on offering familiar local dishes that resonate with the tastes of the community. If sales are low, it could mean your menu offerings don’t align well with customer tastes.

Solution: Regularly engage with your customers to get feedback on your dishes. Perhaps consider offering “taste tests” of new dishes before adding them to the menu. Keep an ear to the ground for local favorites or emerging food trends.

Presence of Strong Competitors

A nearby competitor with superior offerings can impact your sales.

Solution: Don’t be disheartened! Instead, recognize this as an opportunity to level up your carinderia. Visit the competitor as a customer, assess what they’re doing right, and find ways to offer something unique in terms of taste, service, or even presentation.

Leftover or Unsold Food

Unsold food translates to wasted resources. It’s both a financial loss and an operational concern.

Miscalculating Daily Servings

Preparing too much can result in leftovers, while preparing too little can lead to missed sales opportunities.

Solution: Track your daily sales and monitor patterns. Adjust your portions based on sales history, day of the week, and even seasonal variations.

Menu Misfit

Dishes that don’t resonate with customers tend to remain unsold.

For example, your local community who prefers spicy adobo, will certainly avoid buying the sweet variety you are offering.

Solution: Regularly review your menu based on sales data. Consider removing dishes that consistently underperform and introduce newer ones based on customer feedback.

One practical solution to address this is to offer leftover food at a discounted price at the end of the day. This not only reduces waste but also attracts customers looking for budget-friendly options.


You’ll face various challenges due to the presence of other similar businesses around your area.

Differentiate your dishes from your competitors to attract more customers. Make sure to maintain a balance between popular Filipino dishes and your own creative recipes.

Additionally, learn from successful carinderias in your community. Analyze their strengths and weaknesses to continuously improve your business. Regularly assessing the local market and trends helps you stay ahead and make informed decisions.

Lastly, focus on providing exceptional customer service. Ensure that your staff is well-trained, attentive, and approachable. A satisfied customer is more likely to become a loyal patron and possibly recommend your carinderia to others.

Non-Paying Customers

Given the unique nature carinderias and the trust-based system it traditionally operates on, non-payment or delayed payment issues are sadly not uncommon.

eat and run

Pay-First Policy

Transitioning to a pay-first policy can significantly reduce the financial risks associated with tabs or unpaid dues.

Add a signage that says “Pay First Policy” or something similar. Additionally, firmly but politely ask for payment first before the customer sits down with their food. Alternatively, you can ask for payment first before you hand over the customer’s order.

Multiple Payment Options

Long-time customers or regulars at your carinderia may occasionally request to pay later due to not having hard cash at the moment, or because they only have a 1,000-peso bill for a PHP 60 lunch.

Offering multiple payment options such as GCash or Maya will reduce the chances that this might happen.


Install CCTVs that have a clear view of the dining area. Add a signage that says “CCTV in operation” to discourage potential customers who may “eat and run”.

Discouragement Because Of Problems Owners Experienced

Starting a carinderia business in the Philippines can be lucrative, but it also comes with challenges that may lead to discouragement or mental stress.

It’s important to maintain a positive outlook and keep a problem-solving mindset, rather than dwell on your setbacks. Ask for advice from a trusted friend or family or read business articles like the one you are reading right now.

Remember, knowledge is power – and adapting to challenges is crucial for carinderia owners in the long run.

A Carinderia Will Have Problems, But You Can Overcome Them!

Operating an eatery presents various challenges, but don’t be disheartened!

It’s essential to address these issues to keep your customers coming back and maintain a thriving business. Always prioritize food quality and customer satisfaction to ensure long-term success in your carinderia.

Looking to help solve your carinderia problems? Contact us for a strategy call.

About the author 

Yesh Quijano

Yesh Quijano is an entrepreneur and digital marketer who's been in the game for over 11 years. He started several businesses and helped countless others reach new heights. His goal is to make digital marketing for SMEs simple, accessible, and effective. When he's not working, you can find him cuddling with his two cats.

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