Litson Manok (roasted chicken), sometimes called the poor man's litson (whole pig roasted on a spit), did not make a poor man out of Sandy Javier, owner and CEO of Andok's Corporation.
Sandy's dream began more than 25 years ago when he set up a small stall along West Avenue in Quezon City. Wanting to cash in on the litson manok craze, he asked his mother's friend who owned a poultry store to 'outsource' 12 whole chickens which he then roasted with hopes that it will catch on with passers by. At the end of the day he only sold two.
Instead of being discouraged, Sandy decided to innovate. He experimented with his ingredients and cooking methods until he found what he felt was the right formula that would capture his buyers' tastes.
In 1985 Sandy's efforts were rewarded when the hungry masses began trooping to the first Andok's Litson Manok-Liempo store at the corner of Baler Street and West Avenue in QC.
Andok's soon became synonymous with litson manok and its stalls were soon a common sight in Metro Manila. In 2002 Andok's branched out to the Visayas starting with 2 stores in Cebu followed by 9 more stores in two years. Two years later Sandy decided to put up his first dine-in store at D'Mall Boracay.
Budget-conscious tourists and locals enjoyed Andok's affordable menu so much that 6 outlets were operating on the island in less than a year's time. Aside from it's bestsellers, a typical Andok's menu also offers meat-heavy fare that include lechon kawali (fried pork rinds), crispy pata (deep-fried pork knuckles), pork sinigang (sour pork soup) as well as a host of desserts and merienda (snack) which include banana con yelo (bananas in iced milk) and leche flan (vanilla custard).
Andok's has even evolved to include selling daily necessities such as rice, sugar, beverages and grocery products.
At a seminar for business students at the Colegio San Juan De Letran, Sandy shared the lessons he learned from running Andok's. "Kahit walang pera, sipag lang ang capital, common sense and hard work. (Even if you don't have much money you can use diligence, common sense and hard work as your capital)", adding that an entrepreneur should find enjoyment in work, "If you are enjoying what you do, you are not working at all. You are just enjoying."
He also emphasized the Pinoy trait of being matipid (thrifty) by always spending less than what they are earning. For future entrepreneurs Sandy has this to say: "One has to have passion, commitment, direction and (a) goal and one must not stop until he or she reaches (that) goal and when he or she does, he or she will work some more."
Andok's is a perfect example of a fad turning into an institution. From a corner stall with 12 roasted chickens, Sandy Javier now owns 300 outlets nationwide and counting, earning Andok's the tag, "Pambansang Litson Manok".
Trivia: Sandy ran and won as the mayor of the town of Javier, Leyte. He is also the brother of Danny Javier, one of the members of the famous musical trio, The Apo Hiking Society. "Andok's" is the nickname of their late father, Leonardo Javier, Sr.