MANILA, Philippines – After retiring from public service in June last year, former Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Franklin Ebdalin decided it was time to focus on his business, as franchisee of the homegrown food chain Binalot Fiesta Foods Inc.
Ebdalin, now an attorney-at-law at M.M. Lazaro & Associates after serving in the government for 35 years, decided to franchise a 65 sq. m. Binalot store at the StarMall at EDSA-Shaw in December 2009.
“I had some small franchises but I decided to try a big one. To me, the food business is still a very good area to invest in,” Ebdalin said.
The former government official and bar topnotcher said he has an existing ice cream stall at StarMall called Franzkie’s and when he was offered to buy out the existing Binalot franchise at the mall, he grabbed the opportunity.
He said the Binalot franchise is not as expensive as the other food franchises and it has gained a reputation as a trusted food chain.
“I believe in the product line of Binalot, they take care of their outlets and they also take good care of their franchisees,” Ebdalin said.
Binalot is known for offering Filipino dishes wrapped in banana leaves. Binalot also always strive to provide the ultimate Filipino food experience. The Binalot menu includes all-Pinoy classic favorites such as adobo and bistek, tapa and tocino, sisig and longganisa, salted egg and tomato and talong with bagoong.
Binalot, founded in 1996, has around 33 branches mostly located in Metro Manila. Of the 33 stores, only six are company-owned. A Binalot franchise is estimated to cost
between P1.2 million to P2.5 million, depending on the size of the store.
Ebdalin said Binalot also helped him to appoint a point person to help manage the store and increase its profitability. Ebdalin availed of the Company Supervision Scheme (CSS) from Binalot. It is a service where Binalot oversees the operation of the store applicable for those too busy like lawyers and doctors.
Ebdalin admits that he cannot spend as much time as he wants at the Binalot store in StarMall because although he is now retired, he has gone back to corporate law. He does not discount the possibility, however, of opening up another Binalot store if there is an opportunity.
“If I have time and if there is a good location, I will grab it,” he said.
At 69, Ebdalin said he tries to balance his time between work and enjoyment. He also wants to make a difference in the lives of other people.
Part of his advocacy is helping send students from the province to school. He is now sending 10 kids to college.
“I want to earn because I want to help other people. I give not only because I have something to give but because I know how it feels to have nothing,” Ebdalin, who is a native of Cagayan de Oro said.