August 4, 2012
The Franchise Asia Philippines 2012 held at the SMX Convention Center last July 25-29 was a resounding success.
This was a two-day conference/seminar and two-day expo event that the Philippine Franchise Asia (PFA) group mounted, coming fresh from their success at the World Franchise Confederation and Asia Pacific Confederation which the PFA organized and the Philippines hosted and where franchise leaders from 40 countries participated. This event validated our claim that the Philippines is Asia’s franchising hub.
Judging from the crowds that gathered at the venue for four days, they must surely have surpassed their target of 50,000 visitors at the Expo. More importantly, the event sparked a greater interest in franchising among our people, thanks to the undying efforts of the franchise advocates led by PFA Chairman Emeritus Samie Lim and chairman Robert Trota who both share the advocacy of spreading the good news about franchising and entrepreneurship.
More pavilions have come up (both local and international), a total of 350 exhibitors and over 500 booths were there. Newer concepts were likewise seen at the expo. There was a petrol section, something new, and virtually all the country’s oil players were there. I understand that this is the first time that a franchise expo is showcasing a petrol pavilion, so we got there first! Energy secretary Jose Almendras was there to personally see for himself the new designs of the gas stations and how franchising of new petrol stations is faring. To quote the secretary: “I purposely came here to see what the new gas stations will look like…. I’m happy that most of these oil companies are looking at opening 200-300 gas stations a year….We’re encouraging everybody to upgrade their facilities (with) better toilets…..also know the capital needed to operate a gas station.”
Having more gas stations in a given locality gives us consumers the advantage of better prices, convenience (in terms of distance differences), as well as quality service. A good gas station should be able to offer travelers much more than competitively-priced petrol, so nice-smelling and clean restrooms with ample provisions and water supply and of course adequately manned would be a good come-on, plus the added advantage of space and a good-sized convenience store and coffee shop/snack bar would definitely boost your business as a petrol dealer. Add to that the retail earnings from the store and coffee shop.
We saw PTT Phils., a 100 percent subsidiary of PTT, the largest oil company in Thailand at the petrol pavilion. They too are hoping to attract local franchisors for PTT gas stations here.
The Korean brand Café Bene (also known as the Starbucks of Korea), the fastest-growing coffee shop chain in Korea with more than 800 stores now was also launched there. Café Bene started only five years ago, and now they have covered Korea with hundreds of stores and have spread their wings all over Asia, the Philippines and Tokyo included.
A homegrown concept from Cebu has also caught our fancy. Noble House Business Brokers which was a silver sponsor of the event and is virtually a mainstay now in these annual expos, started out with simple but hearty fares like Liloan’s pride liempo. Liloan is a coastal town in Cebu once famed for their rows and rows of Cebu lechon paired with “puso”, small tetra packs of cooked rice packed in a native casing and hanging from hooks. Makeshift stalls with these fares would line the roads leading to the beaches. Reminds me of our own La Loma lechon here. Other offerings were itlog on sticks, T 101 milk tea and the famous Cebuano ngoyong, a kind of native Chinese-style sausage that is readily available in Cebu. It is generic, so brining it here to Manila as part of your “franchisable” package is a great idea. This company was reportedly awarded by the Entrepreneur magazine as the fastest-rising franchising company here. It just goes to show: if you have the products to show off, the marketing skill to sell and the perseverance to see your company through, your potentials could be unlimited in the franchising business.
And of course, there is their much-touted incubation center where new business concepts never before launched can have the benefit of being showcased at the prestigious Franchise Asia Philippines. The organizers are very optimistic and excited about this center because it could be a fountainhead of great innovative ideas, mostly from (but not limited to) young eager entrepreneurs who may have the right concepts/products but do not have the logistics support and infrastructure to realize the potentials of their concepts.
The organizers thought of the incubation center for these inspired would-be franchisors, especially those students who have earned special citations from their schools for best business plans, and offered them subsidized booths. In these incubation centers, the organizers, all seasoned franchisors in their own right, could offer their technical expertise, link up the newbies with the right suppliers, etc. As Samie Lim said, those in the incubation centers this year could be next year’s emerging concepts, be a full-fledged franchisor in about two years. Franchising, Samie predicts, will be the country’s biggest dollar earner in terms of export in 10 years.
You could be the next franchise king. The Binalot brand of Binalot Fiesta Foods Inc. is now an iconic brand, starting out humbly with roadside stores offering simple food like adobo with plain steamed rice or “daing na bangus with itlog na maalat”, all meals wrapped in banana leaves. Binalot now has 40 branches. The owner, Rommel Juan is an active member of PFA, and his booth at the expo featured his newest concept: the Binalot mobile food van, patterned after the food trucks now very popular in the United States. Their food van package costs P1.58 million for the whole franchise, including the customized van. What’s good about it is the van, being mobile, can be parked anywhere with advance notice via the social network of when and where the van will be at a specific day. Or these mobile vans can be commissioned for an event where hot meals can be served on the spot. Great idea.
Congratulation to the Franchise Asia Philippines 2012.
Mabuhay!!! Be proud to be a Filipino.