The new student-run business hopes to brighten your day with authentic desserts
Munch is a new student business run by Andrei Garcia and Jose Cardenas. The duo splits up their duties to make the magic work. Along with managing finances, Garcia, a third-year communication major, uses his family recipes to create leche flan and coffee jelly, the two options on the small business’ menu. Cardenas, a fourth-year communication major, focuses on marketing and promoting their brand.
The idea for this small business started when Davis entered lockdown for the COVID-19 pandemic. The pair of friends pitched ideas on their brand’s vision and when would be the best time to sell.
“We both are still students,” Cardenas said via email. “We had to find a way to sell without it affecting our studies, which is why we decided to sell through pre-orders. Usually, our pre-orders have a deadline, and this lets us know how many orders to make the day before delivery.”
This student duo sells their leche flan for $8.25 and their coffee jelly for $4.75. While they are currently using disposable plastics, they hope to switch to biodegradable packaging in the near future. Their creation of the two specific desserts was strategic; only having two options gave them the chance to run a small business without being overwhelmed by too many products.
“[Selling two things] allowed us to manage our time between school, work and our business since it is only the two of us managing it,” Cardenas said. “But we do plan on having limited-edition holiday desserts and we may incorporate a few more desserts in the future.”
They plan on selling once a week and with the help of everyone who has been supporting their business, they are persevering through the hardships of COVID-19. Whether they are selling through delivery or pick-up, they adhere to the guidelines to ensure a safe experience for their hungry customers.
“We knew we wanted to focus solely on Filipino desserts, but we didn’t want to name it something common,” Cardenas said. “Instead, we focused on the act of eating itself. When you love a certain dish, you’ll keep munching on it because your taste buds are attracted to the flavor. And since Filipino desserts carry a ton of flavor, we found it fitting.”
The decision to start Munch wasn’t a last minute impulse in light of more free time during the pandemic—the pair had considered the idea for a while.
“My friends would jokingly say that I should start a small business because they loved my desserts,” Garcia said via email. “After much thought, I realized that there wasn’t representation in Davis in terms of Filipino cuisine, and as a proud Filipino who emigrated to the U.S. when I was 12, I wanted more students or the Davis community in general to taste a piece of my culture.”
Cardenas always dreamed of having a small business and is finally living that reality.
“Having a small business has been rewarding not only by seeing our customers’ excitement, but also by realizing that our dreams are possible,” Cardenas said.
Throughout the entire process, neither partner had any doubts or worries. They were completely confident in each others’ abilities and trusted that they would work well together, even amid unprecedented times, they both explained.
“Having a partner is helpful because we can lean on each other for support and we both have our strong suits,” Garcia said.
The pair is looking forward to seeing their business grow along with their loyal Davis following. They hope to one day see their small, at-home business grow into an actual store.
“What I am most excited about in this business is seeing where it takes us and being able to grow both of our skills in the process,” Cardenas said.
At the start of the quarter, with everything going on, the duo forced themselves to keep up with their responsibilities in order to keep their grades up and their customers happy.
“My feelings were everywhere because it was in the middle of the week and I had homework to do and errands, but they were good feelings,” Garcia said.
That first sale was a surreal experience for the pair and as they relive it, they can recall the busy first day of orders pouring in.
“It started to set in that I have a small business,” Cardenas said. “It became reality.”
Both parties have gone through the business with an outstanding amount of support; they thank their friends and family for the support through these times as they chase their dreams.
While some friends offer emotional support and others buy the products, the friends of Munch celebrate this small business by sharing their posts through Instagram.
“My friends have been super supportive and I’m appreciative of them sharing our business on their social media,” Cardenas said.
Garcia’s family reacted well to the idea of using family recipes for his new business.
“My parents were very supportive and said that they hope that I do well,” Garcia said.
The small business has triumphed through lock-ins and hurdles alike, but this is the norm for them, as this is how they started. Nothing stops this team from making food to keep other people happy during a bit of a dark time as some students are far from home and embrace food as a source of comfort and familiarity. Students have found solace in this small business as the owners try to give them a smile through a sweet package.
“I’ve always enjoyed making food and baking and watching people’s faces brighten up after they take a bite,” Garcia said.