Company Description

As the international food scene rapidly expands, so too does the American appetite.  With a flavorful and layered food profile, culinary experts have long hailed Filipino cuisine as "the next big thing."  Despite this prediction, exposure and accessibility to fresh fare from the Philippines has been limited and therefore under-served in the mainstream marketplace. In this pivotal culinary moment, Be More Pacific Houston is poised to deliver the rich tradition of Filipino cooking to the hip and bustling Heights neighborhood of Houston. 

First-generation Filipino Americans and native Houstonians Mark Pascual and Giovan Cuchapin were the right people to bring Filipino cooking to the masses. The pair had a hunch that the fresh and flavorful cuisine would hit it big in Austin’s thriving food scene. The results were astounding.  What began as a jam-packed food truck soon evolved into a critically acclaimed brick-and-mortar restaurant, with a cult-favorite Chicken Adobo that was named one of Austin's 7 Must-Try Dishes of 2017 by Zagat. The duo’s unique combination of traditional fare and modern sensibilities has finally set a place for Filipino cuisine at the American table.

Business Model

The Opportunity
In the US, and especially in Houston, Filipinos have a higher population than Korean, Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese. Still, their fresh and flavorful cuisine has been grossly underrepresented and overlooked, until now.

It’s time for Filipino cuisine to claim its rightful place within this thriving global culture.

With a confluence of Chinese, Malaysian, Indian and especially Spanish cooking traditions, the flavors of Filipino food are familiar enough to entice new customers, but complex enough to captivate the seasoned Filipino food fan. As this fare is so underserved, the discovery of Filipino cuisine is primed for expansion into the mainstream.

Having set a successful precedent in Austin, Be More Pacific will establish its presence in the Heights neighborhood of Houston. Now teamed with local business owner Roveen Abante of the Houston hot spots Pour Behavior and Lincoln Bar, the trio is ready to build the next Be More Pacific brick and mortar location in a popular neighborhood in Houston.

Business Operations & Cost-Saving Methodology  
Streamlining operations without compromising food quality or service standards is at the forefront of Be More Pacific’s business practices. Having honed these areas at the Austin location, a well-oiled operations protocol will be seamlessly integrated at the Houston restaurant. Every detail from management, to food preparations, to service has been assessed from an operational point of view in order to implement the most cost-effective methods available.

  • Pre-existing beneficial relationships with Texas food vendors 
  • Innovative cooking methods that simplify kitchen workflow
  • Strong back and front-of-house models already in place
  • Experienced staff ready to train new employees and hit the ground running

Revenue Streams
In addition to regular dining service, Be More Pacific Houston will offer several other specialty elements and services to enhance the overall revenue stream. The addition of a full bar and patio will serve as a both a complement to the cuisine and a standalone revenue stream.

  • A full-service bar and patio with a specialty cocktail list inspired by tropical ingredients such as fresh herbs, jackfruit, prickly pear, lambanog coconut liquor, and more
  • Off-site catering will be a primary focus through social media and the website
  • A private dining & karaoke room will be offered to accommodate parties, celebrations, and business functions  
  • A selection of bottled artisanal sauces and marinades (such as the wildly popular made in house Banana Ketchup) will be on sale in the restaurant 
  • Selected dates for Kamayan Experiences for guests to enjoy a family-style feast typically eaten by hand which will include off-menu specials

The Menu
Familiar enough to enjoy right away, yet exotic enough to leave a lasting impression, Filipino food is the product of Malaysian, Chinese, Indian, and Spanish flavors and cooking styles. Made by hand using traditional methods and family recipes, the menu at Be More Pacific Houston will feature all of the celebrated dishes of the Austin location, with a few new additions.

  • Chicken Adobo (named by Zagat as one of Austin's 7 Must-Try Dishes of 2017) 
  • Kare Kare beef brisket
  • Crispy Pork Sisig
  • Flavorful seafood options such as Yellowfin Tuna Sisig and Salmon Steak Sinigang
  • On-trend vegetarian options that meld classic Filipino flavors with healthy tofu and vegetables
  • On-trend gluten free options 

The Atmosphere
Distinguishing itself from mom and pop Filipino restaurants, Be More Pacific Houston will transform the established concepts away from the traditional buffet into a lively and modern dining experience. The bar and outdoor dining area of the Houston location will maintain the relaxed, tropical vibe of the Austin location and also incorporate fresh industrial design elements facilitated by architect John Tsai of JT ARC Studio.

The Team
With Mark Pascual, Giovan Cuchapin, and Roveen Abante leading the way, Be More Pacific Houston will enrich the community by adding an important piece to a diverse neighborhood puzzle.  

As both first-generation Filipino Americans and native Houstonians, Mark Pascual and Giovan Cuchapin possess a unique understanding of both traditional Filipino cuisine as well as a personal and intimate knowledge of the Texas restaurant scene. 

Giovan worked his way up the ladder from dishwasher to general manager in order to develop a sharp understanding of restaurant operations, while Mark’s background in business development and project management brings a level of entrepreneurial passion to their project.

As Houston natives, the partners share a desire to contribute to the culture of their city and to bring their beloved cuisine to the masses.

In addition, Chef Salvador Melgarejo will help with training staff in the kitchen. Chef Salvador was born in California and moved to the Philippines at the age of two. His mother owned a catering business in the Philippines and growing up he was taught to cook traditional Filipino cuisine.  

Brian Casipe who serves as the General Manager at Be More Pacific Austin, will also help with training during the opening of Be More Pacific Houston. Brian is a first-generation Filipino American who has over 10 years experience in restaurant management, with past experience at Japanieros, Guru Burgers & Crepes, and Ginger Mule.

Location Analysis

Established in 1890, the Heights was Houston’s first “planned” community. It has since grown to include some of the city’s best restaurants, independent shops, nightlife, and family-friendly activities with nearly identical demographics as the successful Austin location. Brimming with energy, authenticity, and diversity, the Heights is the ideal spot to create a culinary home reflective of the spirit and flavors of the food itself.

Meet the Team

Mark Pascual
Co-Founder and Managing Partner

Mark worked as a project manager in commercial and audio visual installation before founding the Be More Pacific Food Truck in 2011 with business partner, Giovan Cuchapin. After 6 years, the pair opened Be More Pacific Filipino Kitchen and Bar in Austin. Mark holds a degree in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin.

Giovan Cuchapin
Co-Founder and Managing Partner

Giovan started as a dishwasher at Fuddruckers and then worked his way up from server to General Manager at Mama Fu's, consulting troubled restaurant operations in Florida shortly thereafter. He joined Mark Pascual in 2011 to create the Be More Pacific Food Truck before opening the Be More Pacific Filipino Kitchen and Bar in Austin in 2017.

Roveen Abante
Managing Partner

Roveen and Jan Abante are the husband and wife team behind Longhorn Capital Group, LLC. Together they founded Proof Rooftop Lounge and Pour Behavior in Midtown, Lincoln Bar on Washington Ave, and Understory Bar at Capitol Tower.
Roveen began his career in sales and marketing within technology, IT, nightlife, and hospitality before starting a software development company which he later sold. Jan Abante specializes in in process improvement, accounting, and logistics - and is the manager of Sunny Flea Market, a family business running for 40 years and one of the largest in the US.
Roveen and Jan met at the University of Texas at Austin where Jan earned a degree in economics and Roveen earned a degree in natural sciences with a certification in business. They have two children together.