Lifestyle, Profiles, Stories, Taoke (Business)

John Dytian: Creative Cuisine and Insights on the F&B Industry

For as long as the sky is blue, there will always be this true one fact: Great food reigns supreme. It stands to reason then that those dedicated to serving great food will also soar to the top, right?

One of the most notable culinary names in Cebu is the Creative Cuisine Group (CCG). Founded by Loreta Dytian in 1991, the company’s roots stem from this matriarch’s love for baking. It started out as a home-based passion that eventually evolved into a full-fledged pastry store — the Kaffee Alde Bakeshop. Now, flash forward 30 years later and the CCG group operates eight unique brands, including a diverse range of cuisines, establishments, and services that have established a prominent presence in the local food scene. 

In addition to the Kaffee Alde Bakeshop, the Creative Cuisine Group has fittingly brought to life several creative food concepts that cater to all sorts of culinary demographics. Want to sample some signature Cebuano cuisine? Restaurant chain Chika-an has your back. Looking for some rustic bites with a touch of modernity? Go hang out in Brique. Those wanting some casual Chinese classics may also try their luck out at Big Mao to satisfy their cravings. 

In more recent years, CCG expanded its portfolio to include Ettas, a Filipino-inspired restaurant dabbling in eclectic creations; Da In, an authentic and trendy Korean BBQ place; and Big Daddy, an innovative burger-and-hotdog food truck. The group is also most especially known for its catering service of the same name — renowned as one of the best that Cebu has to offer. 

At the helm of this ambitious food and beverage (F&B) enterprise is President and CEO John Dytian, who, together with siblings Derek and Lorraine Dytian, has developed the family business into something of a force to be reckoned with in the Philippine dining industry. 

As shared in this exclusive interview with CHiNOY TV, John Dytian reveals thoughts and insights on CCG and the journey he has walked as a veteran restaurant entrepreneur:


What inspired you to take a path into the F&B industry?

My path to the F&B industry was unplanned. My mother opened Kaffee Alde right after I graduated from college. I decided to come home to Cebu and join her. This is now my 30th year in the food business.


One of Kaffee Alde’s best-sellers is the Tres Leches Cake (P1,800).


What do you love most when managing the Creative Cuisine Group?

What I love most about managing a business is that I am given the opportunity to find business solutions and accomplish business growth. Aside from that, I am able to work and help my people succeed and create a fun and lively workplace.


The Creative Cuisine Group currently manages eight different brands, including several restaurants, a food truck, a pastry shop, and a catering service. What inspired and continues to inspire these concepts?

The company is driven by one purpose, and that is to provide a delightful and exemplary dining experience. This is basically our inspiration: to continuously exceed customer expectations through good food, friendly service, and great teamwork among employees. 


What’s the story behind the different cuisines and food you present?

All the brands we have established were based on the market needs and trends at a particular period. We opened Big Mao in 2013 when we saw the shift of traditional Chinese restaurants evolving to more modern and casual dining. Big Daddy Food Truck was inspired by the food truck craze in 2013 to 2014. We opened Da In in 2019 to cater to the popularity of Korean Barbecue.


Left: Big Daddy Double Patty Cheeseburger (P184). Right: Da In Unlimited Set (P699).


What are the difficulties you encountered in managing your business, especially during these troubling times? How are you working to overcome them?

The biggest difficulty that we have encountered these past few months was been the drastic drop in revenue. The welfare of our employees and customers is also a concern. We have faced these challenges by changing the way we do things and understanding the customers better. These measures include cost controls, multi-tasking of personnel, increasing the digital presence of all the brands, and following all health protocols.


What goals do you have for the next year?

2020 was about survival. 2021 is more of maintaining the business as a springboard for growth towards the latter half of the year and the future. 


What’s your favorite cuisine and why?

Chinese cuisine is my favorite. I like it for its diversity. It is something that I grew up with.


Big Mao offers casual Chinese dishes like Pata Tim for P525.


What tips do you have for aspiring Chinoy food entrepreneurs?

To be able to stay relevant in the food industry, we have to take care of our people, ensure that products and services meet or exceed customer expectations, and continue learning and innovating to adapt to market trends.


To hear about more Chinoy-owned business, check out our Modern Tao Ke stories here.

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