STARTING a business with a higher purpose had always been the goal for young entrepreneur Francis Carl Reyes. In 2017, he had a concept that sounded crazy — an ice cream business completely staffed by deaf people. He used his savings from working in the United States and ventured into artisanal rolled ice cream with the Elait brand and partnered with the College of Saint Benilde to hire their deaf scholars. The company provided what was once a dream for many PWDs — a job.
However, when the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic broke out, the Caravan Food Group had to downsize since its kiosks were located inside now-deserted malls. But the downtime did allow management to reflect further on their business offerings, and they realized that what could work was a full-service restaurant/cafe where families and friends sit down and enjoy time together. The decision was made to take Overdoughs, which started out as kiosk known for their mini “chonky” cookies (also known as “chonkies”), and expand it.
But it would be more than just a regular restaurant — it would also be a venue for learning.
“More than a cafe, I really want the place to be a venue for learning Filipino Sign Language… I would like to create greater awareness and create a more inclusive society and people,” said Mr. Reyes, the owner of Overdoughs Cafe.
He encouraged Hand and Heart and the School for Deaf Education and Applied Studies SDEAS — College of Saint Benilde to use the venue for Sign Language class sessions, creating more opportunities for the Deaf and the general public to forge interactions and friendships. A beautiful diverse friendly community that is.
As important as the purpose of the cafe is, one must never forget the food. Aside from chonkies, Overdough Café now serves OD Fat Fries, Sourdough Pizzas (Truffle and Threeshrooms, Sam and Kim Cheese, Scallops and Honey Bacon Flavors), Skillet Cookies ice cream, chicken combos and several other dishes.
Overdoughs Cafe is located at the 2F of Promenade at the Greenhills Shopping Center in San Juan. — Elyse G