July 21, 2012
MAKATI CITY, METRO MANILA – Rommel Juan, the creator and president of Binalot, said the company prides itself to have one asset that makes it successful: its franchisees.
For 15 years, Binalot has established itself as among the most successful food and beverage dining businesses in the Philippines.
But the success of Binalot is not without its low downs. The company has seen some of its branches come and go due to a number of factors such as location and stiff competition, as well as issues of supply.
The concept of eating Filipino meals on a square cut of banana leaf and wrapped in recycled paper made it a trademark that would be imitated but not equaled.
Binalot’s chicken adobo, beef tapa, pork longganisa and tocino, sisig, sinigang and daing na bangus areamong its all-time favorites. Mix these with a slice of salted duck egg and chopped tomatoes and you’d surely be reminiscing about home-cooked meals.
The company continues to prosper and already has 35 branches with more being opened up especially in the provinces.
“Franchisees are as much a part of our success as the trademark concept. The franchisees have a huge contribution to our business as they carry our brand wherever they go,” said Juan.
Juan said that one of their unique approaches in franchising is to ensure that potential franchisees also share the same values that Binalot represents. Unlike many brands that seek out franchisees, Juan said franchisees go through screenings and some tests to ensure that franchisees are capable in pursuing their business.
“This allows us to know if our franchisers are keepers and are really willing to work for the long term. We also value franchisees’ ideas
to keep our business going by picking from their ideas and implementing them,” said Juan.
One of the concerns in franchising is that some franchisers keep signing up investors without looking at their background. In all likelihood, even the investors would not check some businesses’ background and are rather caught by the idea that a small investment would recoup within a short period.
“All businesses have overheads that are not part of the initial investments. Investors have to be sure that they would expect the unexpected and able to foresee what’s in store for them. In our case, we assist franchisees review their business plans and see what could work for the franchise they acquired,” said Juan.
One of Binalot’s franchisees that has seen major challenges come to fruition is Analyn Sayat, who bought a franchise of Binalot in November 2009. Her branch is at the Alphaland Southgate Mall in Makati, which has at least three outsourcing companies as tenants.
Because the building was new when it opened, Sayat, who had just bought her first franchise, soon realized there was little market for her food business.
“There are days when we would just have a few thousand pesos in income a day. We were already happy if we hit P10,000 a day,” according to Sayat, who used to work as a sales consultant for a major sales and logistics firm.
Sayat said it was a major challenge for her especially since it was her first time to run
a business. For 14 months, the business was very slow and often didn’t break even.
But she persevered and in the early months of 2011, the Binalot franchise in Alphaland took off and was hitting five-digit income per day primarily because of the new tenants in the building, as well as office workers from nearby buildings.
Sayat described her experience as both exhilarating and challenging largely because this was her first time to be her own boss. She noted the difference between being an employee and a business owner.
“I thought it’s easier to be a boss, telling employees what to do. I didn’t realize that I would have to work much harder, waking up so early in the morning and going home very late. It was such a learning experience.”
She added: “You have to be very committed to your business for it to prosper. Of course, you have to do a lot of assessment to know what should be the next best thing to do. It’s good that Binalot provides us with a lot of assistance.”