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How to woo America to your ethnic market

By Dennis Clemente

How do you woo America to your ethnic market? In 2009, I wrote a piece about how Filipinos could start with food–and how pretty much everything else will fall into place. It was called “Where is Filipino food in the US marketplace?”

Four years later this month, I wrote a sequel of sorts originally titled, “So who’s chicken? A tale of two ethnicities.” The title was changed to make it more topical and less controversial perhaps.

Full story:

This latest story tells the story of two types of Filipino restaurants–the franchises and fine-dining places. The emphasis is on the former for having the financial wherewithal to go mainstream America but which also seems flummoxed by the idea of doing so.

In the piece, comments have poured in about the limits of Filipino cuisine. I say one’s imagination in tweaking Filipino food need not be limited, for only in creating noise can Filipino businesses also get advertising dollars, and it is in food that you woo and win America over to your side.

To make the piece as accessible as possible, I kept my more pressing personal observation about Filipinos’ lack of presence in the marketplace to myself, but which I can reveal here more openly. Sad to say, the problem really stems from a lack of confidence in marketing Filipino food to the mainstream market.

Just ask anyone and they will tell you why not when every other ethnicity has a restaurant catering to everyone.