The Binalot story: Big things come in small wrapped packages

September 25, 2012
ROMMEL JUAN decided to start a new business by reintroducing traditional Filipino food, actually by presenting it the way it was done decades, perhaps centuries, ago but in a modern fast-food setting. He had toyed with the word binalot, which eventually became the name of the new business that he had in mind. In Filipino, binalot means “wrapped.” Juan had been inspired by his memories from childhood, when food used to be served in banana leaves during family picnics. Thus, all Binalot products are wrapped in banana leaves in a show of support for protecting the environment and stamping the signature of the Filipino in a country that seems unable to resist Western influences, whether in food or fashion.

Juan learned how to run a business at an early age. “I grew up in a family where talking about business over dinner was a common practice. When I was 7 or 8, after my father went overseas on business, he always brought back souvenirs like toys for me. He would say to me, ‘Out of these 10, take one for yourself and sell the rest to your friends.’ In this way, he taught me how to do business.”

A Marketing Management graduate of De La Salle University in Manila, he later finished his master’s degree in Entrepreneurship at the Asian Institute of Management in 2005.

Juan said his journey as a businessman was not easy and that he faced risks, even failures. But instead of sulking about missed opportunities, according to him, he looked at the missteps as part of his trials on his way to modest success in business. Besides, Juan said, anytime is as good a time for business as any as long as one loves what he is doing.

The Binalot founder is now recognized as one of the most sought-after speakers on entrepreneurship and so is Binalot, as the ultimate Pinoy fast-food brand.

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Philippine Daily Inquirer