Winter term of 2020 ended abruptly for Joseph Baniqued, then a freshman business administration student at Oregon State. Like millions of college students, Baniqued returned home when campuses closed at the onset of the global pandemic. But as he wrapped up his coursework and settled into remote learning, Baniqued also found himself in a real-world test of his business acumen.
Baniqued grew up in a family business on the west side of O’ahu, Hawaii. For more than 25 years, the Baniqueds have owned Alyssandra’s Lumpia Express, a restaurant with multiple locations specializing in authentic Filipino cuisine.
With their primary location in a mall that was closed, it became imperative to adjust the family’s business plan to survive. As a new term got underway at OSU, Baniqued was studying business planning in one of his core classes. His classmates chose Alyssandra’s Lumpia Express as a case study and together, they crafted a plan using social media to inform customers that Alyssandra’s remained open for delivery and carryout.
“What it came down to was marketing,” Baniqued recalled. “Social media is a very powerful tool.”
Baniqued’s parents implemented the students’ plan, which included promotions and giveaways. While more than 10% of U.S. restaurants have closed since the pandemic started, Alyssandra’s survived and even grew.
“Our profit margins have definitely gone up from pre-pandemic,” Baniqued said.
That’s one of the reasons that Baniqued, now a junior, was chosen as Family Business Student of the Year in the 2022 Excellence in Family Business Awards, presented by the Center for Family Enterprise at Oregon State University.
Applying what he is learning helps Baniqued to better understand his family’s business.
Not only did his coursework prove relevant, but his parents also promoted him to general manager. The experience also solidifies his desire to continue working in the family business when he graduates.
“There’s always something that’s going to come up,” he said. “With a family business, it’s easier to find that common goal.”
Balancing between being open to new ideas while maintaining family traditions is what makes working for the family business appealing.
“My parents are very traditional when it comes to business,” he said. “But obviously, times are changing.”
Baniqued is the sole representative of the second generation interested in continuing with the family business. His older siblings also spent time working there but are now pursuing medical careers.
While his parents still operate Alyssandra’s – his father is head chef, and his mom leads operations – succession planning has begun. And although it will be easy for him to step into the family business, already he is making modernization plans.
That’s his advice to others who are studying family business.
“Speaking up will help you succeed,” he said. “It will also benefit your family business in the future.”
To learn more about the Excellence in Family Business Awards, visit us at the Center for Family Enterprise website.