It has managed to survive with little or no competition all these years, but when competitors decided to challenge Roberto’s, it didn’t even budge. Big league competitors in the likes of Jollibee and Mang Inasal have stores a few steps away yet Roberto’s always almost full no matter what time of the day.
So what made this restaurant strong enough to co exist with really big competitors despite its feeble appearance?
It’s neither the ambiance nor the service, for in this category Roberto’s, flops. Many shared their not so good experiences about buying over the counter, eating inside the restaurant and even suppliers have complaints or two. Most of the time people just order to go and enjoy good ol’ Roberto’s food in the comfort of the homes and offices. Roberto’s may have improved their fixtures but the ambiance of the whole restaurant stays the same, a chaotic blend of the old and the new.
It really is the food and the familiarity of the Ilonggos that made Roberto’s survived. Hamburgers made this snack shop famous and they still served them now. Then there’s their pancit line up – bihon, sotanghon and canton, revered by many. Their assorted meat menu is also among their best sellers – meatballs, camaron relleno, morcon and fried lumpia to name a few. They also have combo meals combining the above menu with some vegetables or snack items for one big plate of good eats.
And then there’s Roberto’s Queen sio pao. This sio pao has bacon and Chinese sausage on top of the chicken and pork adobo and hardboiled egg. The King has ham instead of bacon. What makes the Queen a gastronomic novelty is that it is available for only 3 days a month. (and for special orders.)So in the contest between ambiance and taste, convincingly the latter triumphed but it’s not yet too late for Roberto’s to change the feel of their restaurant and even expand with more branches. With these plus an improvement on the quality of service on top the good food they serve, Roberto's will surely survive and claim it's place in Iloilo gastronomic history.