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‘Little’ food franchises reap big success

/ 11:13 PM September 22, 2012

Kumain ka na ba?” (Have you eaten?)

We, Filipinos, never fail to ask this of guests in our house, it is almost like a greeting. Indeed, food has been ingrained in our culture.

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From the lechon being star of the town fiesta,  to coffee shops and restaurants being the preferred meeting spot for friends and family, there’s no doubt that Filipinos love to eat. This is probably also why food businesses have become lucrative in the country.

However, starting them is not all a piece of cake. As with any business venture, there is always risk of losing whatever capital you’ve put in due to the changing tastes of customers.

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Then, there are those big, established names in the local food world always threatening to take your patrons away. This is exactly why franchising is the less risky way of gaining big success in the food service business.

Three Filipino food franchises, all members of the Association of Filipino Franchisers Inc., (AFFI) share their journey to make it in the business.

These food franchises will join other original Filipino franchises in ”Galing Ng Pinoy,” the 11th Filipino Franchise Show  slated on Oct. 12 to 14 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

Sweet Corner: Idea to help

For food cart Sweet Corner, success is as gold as ears of corn.

Started by Voltaire Magpayo in 2009, the business specializes in food products derived from corn such as corn cobs, shredded corn in a cup, popcorn, and sweet corn shakes. Interesting to note is that the company, now with 65 outlets nationwide, started as a way to help farmers in Mindanao.

“One time, when we had our vacation in South Cotabato, The Corn Capital of the Philippines, I was able to talk to a president of a corn cooperative. He confessed that they were being manipulated by the traders, assemblers and middle men since they have no accessibility to end-consumers,” says Magpayo. “Hence, I offered them an alternative market since we were thinking at that time of putting up our own cart, thus, Sweet Corner was born as market option for them.”

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Magpayo takes pride in the use of organic corn for all of their products. “What makes our corn different from an ordinary corn or competitors, our corn is all natural, ripened by nature and picked by bare hands, hence, our customers can be assured of a fresh and nutritious snack food or side dish,” he enthuses.

Magpayo says a Sweet Corner franchise package costs P230,000, inclusive of standard cart, equipment, utensils, small wares, crew uniform, CGL insurance, training, marketing and site assistance, use of trade name and logo, initial inventory, operations manual,  and assistance to secure business permit.”

He says the secret to his franchise’s success is his passion for his product as well as analyzing beforehand what steps to take before starting his business.  “Look at your finances if it can put up the business or sustain it at the early stage.  If capital is still inadequate, then save. Work and save at least 30 percent of your pay like what we did,” he advises.

Bubbatealicious: Pearls to cash

Meanwhile, for tea-lover Gilbert Jim, pursuing his food business dream was clear. There was no need to read tea leaves.

“We started the business in 2008, but the concept for it came way before,” he expounds. “I grew up in a tea-loving family, but wondered how come tea, despite its many health benefits, wasn’t so popular in the Philippines.”

Jim sought a way to make quality tea more palatable to the average Filipino. The answer came to him in a vacation abroad. “I went overseas and started noticing lots of young people lining up at bubble tea joints. Immediately, I thought this could be the best way to introduce tea drinking to the youth,” he adds.

Unlike most businesses that start out with only one branch, growing into a possible empire, Jim already started with 10 outlets of his stall. “My point then was to advocate tea drinking. I admit it was hard in the beginning. I basically had to train my staff to appreciate tea as well,” he says. “Passion for what I do was and will always be so important, though.”

Jim admits that in the beginning, his business didn’t take off as much as he’d thought it would but that his perseverance paid off around 2010.

“Persistence, I think, is one of the biggest keys in success for any business. Just continue to be passionate for what you do and it will pay off in the end,” he enthuses.

The Bubbatealicious franchise package costs P350,000.00 and is inclusive of standard cart, equipment and utensils, office supplies and cleaning materials, initial inventory and consumables, personnel training service, site evaluation assistance, central purchasing, and opening assistance.

Jim also owns Shanghai Siomai. Started in 2007, the business sort of took Jim back to his childhood.

“My mother had a siomai business when I was growing up, so I already know how it works when I started the business,” he explains.

He says that his experience with Shanghai Siomai helped him establish Bubbatealicious.

“Definitely, because I already have an existing business, in a way, running Bubbatealicious is less confusing,” Jim expounds. “I already have an idea on what to do with the business, more or less.”

Despite the low price point of his products, the one thing Mr. Jim can never sacrifice is quality.

“I believe that just because your products are cheaper it does not have to equate to not having standards. The one thing I’m proud of in both Shanghai Siomai and Bubbatealicious is that we use good ingredients.”

The 11th Filipino Franchise Show  on Oct. 12-14, at the World Trade Center in Pasay City is the country’s biggest franchise show will provide a platform for Filipino entrepreneurs who wish to engage in micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) and learn about a wide array of Filipino franchise investment opportunities from food, retail, and service industries. For more information on the exhibit call Petco at 8325422; 8325401; e-mail  [email protected] or call AFFI at  6540345; 8619897.

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TAGS: Business, food, Food Cart, franchise
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