Fil-Am restaurant owner relies on loyal customers to stay afloat during pandemic

SAN FRANCISCO — Filipino American Joseph Santos and Edgar Gonzales, co-owners of “Los Kuyas,” have found success in the restaurant business — offering their versions of Filipino food favorites served Mexican-style.

Longanisa tacos, sisig burritos, spam rice bowls, just to name a few.

While long lines for “Los Kuyas” were the usual at the Stonestown Mall in San Francisco — it’s been extremely tough for the restaurant business since the mandatory shelter in place order was issued by California Governor Gavin Newsom to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“We’re down approximately 90%. It’s just the first week, hopefully, potentially, you can get better. With the mobile ordering apps. But as of right now, it doesn’t seem like that’s the trend,” said Santos.

As a future registered nurse — Santos makes sure his visiting customers practice social distancing.

Santos said that it’s been more challenging for them because their store is located inside the mall, which only allows online orders to be picked up.

“Our overhead cost is low. And that’s determined if the state is going to push the current property manager or landlords to defer some of the rent. In any case, I do foresee us surviving this as long as it’s not for a prolonged time, and when I say prolonged time, that’s approximately…if it goes longer than six months, I don’t think flow will survive.”

Santos, who started Los Kuyas in order to pay for nursing school, said he is determined to keep his business afloat.

He is relying on the foodies that have supported them in the past — as well as loyal customers from the Filipino community.

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