Spread joy through design, one restaurant at a time.
Before Ikea, quality furniture was a thing reserved for those who had plenty to spare. So if you didn’t have the financial firepower to get an Eames, you had to settle for something way less.
Now Ikea doesn’t make the best furniture—far from it. Just a few years back, their Malm dressers were literally falling on and killing children because they weren’t sturdy enough to stand on their own. But here’s the thing: people didn’t care. (The dressers are still being sold with some modifications.)
Ikea didn’t set out to be the best furniture makers, but they wanted to be the best for their audience at that price. They cut corners in places that didn’t spread joy, and put all their efforts in creating products that people loved and could afford. Ikea has set a stratospheric bar for well-designed products at their price points.
We’d love to do the same thing for restaurants in Manila.
As customers, we love the obsessive attention-to-detail that upscale urban restaurants bring. We light up when we find hidden coffee shops brimming with charm sitting in narrow alleys. We take a lot of pleasure on the playfulness and intensity of tasting menus. But as much as we enjoy these things, we’re grounded by a sense of pragmatism: how many people can really appreciate and understand experiences executed at this level?
We’re always trying to find ways to heighten the dining experience while keeping costs in control. McDonald’s was able to achieve global success by cutting corners and squeezing efficiencies, but at the cost of wearing a dull grey suit. We want to do what McDonald’s has done, but with a little bit more charm, vibrance, and kindness.
While we consider ourselves a food and hospitality business, we have an unusual number of designers on our team. In fact, almost half of our core team, including our founder, have backgrounds in design. We built our team this way because it makes us challenge the problems in the restaurant business differently as outsiders. We spend a bit more time and thoughtfulness on small details that most people miss and we find ways to elevate the dining experience.
We’re called Lowbrow because we believe that cheap doesn’t need to feel cheap. People deserve both great experiences and fair prices, and we’re here to find a way to give them both.
OUR FOUNDERS: INDUSTRY OUTSIDERS
Lowbrow was founded by two college dropouts: Charles Paw and Dwight Co. Both had no restaurant experience prior to opening Lowbrow, only a shared passion for the dining scene.
Prior to Lowbrow, Charles had already had great success in the retail universe as the owner of one of the country leading chains of digital goods and electronics: Digital Walker. He he also owns Beyond the Box, one of the country’s leading Apple resellers.
Dwight, on the other hand, was only 24 and missing a college degree. He previously ran an independent photography studio, worked as a designer, and founded Pepper.ph, one of the leading food media companies in the Philippines.
Currently Dwight serves as the CEO of Lowbrow, while Charles helps out while simultaneously running his other companies: Tasteless, Beyond the Box, and Digital Walker.
OUR 10 VALUES
Thoughtfulness. We take time to think about the details of everything and find ways to make things better even if they seem small.
Transparency. Everyone in the company has access to everything that’s going on. We don’t withhold information, even executive ones, unless there’s a sensitive reason not to.
Hard Truths. Being honest is easy if things are going well, but it’s not if there’s trouble. In all situations, no matter how hard, we remain honest.
Experimentation. A company that refuses to make mistakes is a company that gets obsolete quickly. We try a lot of things all the time and screwing up is pretty normal.
Friendship. It’s frustrating and demoralizing to work with assholes, so we only work with people we like and we want to keep it that way.
Respect for the Environment. We only have one world and the Earth is our shared responsibility so we take it seriously whenever possible.
Inclusion. We have the responsibility to not just include, but protect the rights of minorities in gender, religious beliefs, race, and social status.
Critical Thinking. We try to challenge and question everything.
Accountability. We hold everyone in our team responsible for the decisions they make, so we keep the bar really high.
Endurance. Over a long period of time, it’s the people who remain dependable and consistent that become successful. We’re in this for the long run, and while we have our ups and downs, we want to keep on going upward.
Dwight Co @dwightco Managing Partner & Design Director
Charles Paw @charliepaw Founding Partner
RG Macalinao @rgmacalinao Culinary Director
Andi Lanuza @andilanuza Photography / Videography
Mika Bacani @junemonsters Designer / Illustrator
Max Reyes @maxxreyes Designer / Illustrator
Ida de Jesus @warworn Designer
Annika Hernandez @anneequa_ Designer
Eli Uy @uy.eli PR and Marketing Director
Alma Sayod Bad Bird Megamall
Jane Cena Bad Bird Serendra
Leny Lara Bad Bird Rob Manila
Lloyd Morilla Bad Bird UPTC, Bad Bird Fairview
Jun Lorenzo Fowlbread
Joy David Flower Boy
Patrick Joyosa Wrong Ramen, Bad Bird Hole in the Wall