In 1984, a group of officemates opened a small eatery along Kalayaan Ave. corner Salamanca St. across the International School Manila in Makati City. Their goal was simple: open a cozy 24-hour hangout, sell cheap beer, serve delicious Pinoy comfort food, and earn extra income. They decided on the unique and catchy name, “Rufo’s”, the name of their boss at work.
For decades, Rufo’s built a cult following for serving their iconic Tapsilog, or Tapa (fried beef strips), Sinangag (garlic rice) and Itlog (fried egg) — a Filipino “All-Day Breakfast” dish. Rufo’s tapa recipe was so famous for its rich, sweet, mouth-watering sauce that customers swore by its slogan, “Sauce Pa Lang, Ulam Na!” (“The Sauce is a Dish on its Own!”). The success of this Makati eatery helped popularize the local Tapsihan, a Philippine version of the American Diner, serving local breakfast fare 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
By 2003, businessman Paul Izon Reyes acquired the store, founded Rufo’s Famous Franchise Corporation, and engineered the brand’s expansion through Franchising. Reyes, a fan of Rufo’s (since his student days in the International School Manila), professionalized its business systems and partnered with Francorp, the world leader in franchise development, to create the Rufo’s Famous Franchise Program. Today, Rufo’s operates a chain of 24/7 fast-casual Filipino restaurants all over Metro Manila and nearby provinces.