Binalot CEO Rommel T. Juan featured in The Village Connect (February 2018)

Binalot to Open More Branches as it Eyes 20-25% Growth

Binalot, a Filipino comfort food quick-serving restaurant which has been operating since 1996 sees 2018 as a year of growth as it eyes 20-25% growth. Binalot will be opening up 5 company-owned and 10 franchise stores in the country even as it looks for foreign partners to put up stores abroad.

It already has two stores in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi although it wants to expand in other areas of the Middle East where there are huge concentrations of Filipinos.

Binalot was created by Rommel Juan (and some partners from college days) because of their fond memories of Filipino comfort food wrapped in banana leaves. They put up one in their residential condominium delivering orders obtained by phone personally to the nearby offices until they grew big enough to rent a store space in Jupiter Street and buy motorcycles for deliveries of orders.

Juan came from a family of entrepreneurs (the mother runs a school in Malabon and the father owns his automotive business) which they would discuss over lunches or dinners in their residence in Alfonso, Cavite where the family also had a farm. The children naturally grew to love entrepreneurship because of the stories their parents shared. Even during elementary and college, they sold whatever they could to classmates and others.

“They were always joyful stories although my parents also warned us of the challenges but they also told us that there is always a solution to such challenges. So we grew up thinking it is good to be in business, it became automatic to us upon graduation to put up our own businesses,” Juan reminisced.

First outlet


The very first Binalot was actually a residential condominium in Makati. They took orders by phone and delivered on foot until they put up a store in the commercial area in Jupiter Street , bought motorcycles and then we entered the malls. We had organic growth until 2004 every year we grew by one store until I went into franchising I n 2004.

“Our main expansion strategy is still franchising so I am always on the lookout for effective partners. I always believe that having a franchise is having a business for but not by yourself,” Juan said.

Our job is to support these franchisees so that their businesses will be successful since we cut the learning curve (because if you start your own business chances are 85 percent of new businesses fail in the first three years but by franchising with us you have 95 percent chance of surviving the first four years).

Our franchise fee is P550,000 (inclusive of use of brand, training and initial inventory) but total investment (with construction and site selection) is P1.5 to P2.5 million per store. The average size of a store is 60 square meters for standalone and for food court is 22 square meters.

Their bestsellers are the traditional Filipino adobo, sinigang (eaten in the store), an ongoing debate of which is the national food. Every month we change our offering. Salted eggs are in all our meals, he added.

Even our franchisees are happy with their investments and a lot of investors are coming in. But we are more discriminating with sites, Juan stressed.

He gets his banana leaves from a community (of 30 families) they organized in Nagcarlan, Laguna through a program DAHON, his CSR, since Nagcarlan has 700 hectares of wild banana farms. He has been getting 80 percent of the leaves from this place. Wherever we go we try to find communities we can support.


Per store, the average food line is 12 (as quick service restaurant you must stay lean in your offering) so with the combinations, it is a total of 40 lines.


Most of our customers are dine- in (with 20 percent take out) and deliveries. We are beefing up our logistics to boost our deliveries, where we started.

He would like to think that Binalot is still an SME (the advantage of being small is you are nimble and can react fast). He already has a commissary in Paranaque which has a walk-in freezer and walk-in chiller now. The commissary supplies the provincial branches by boat for mixes but meats and veggies are sourced locally.


In the Visayas Binalot has branches in Iloilo, Bacolod, in Mindanao we are in Davao and looking at Dumaguete.


Juan said Luzon still has a lot of potential with so many malls and food parks rising. Stores in Metro Manila comprise 90 percent.

Growth areas

In next three years, we are focused on domestic growth although we want to go to foreign countries with a lot of Filipinos like Singapore and other Middle Eastern countries (Qatar, Saudi Arabia).

Our belief is we service the franchisee (our customer) and their end customer is theirs. A lot of their franchisees are professionals, ex-IT professionals, and fresh graduates.

This year we are looking at five company-owned and 10 franchised stores. Our target is to grow 20 to 25 percent a year.

By: Rose de la Cruz


Binalot Bacolod Westfield Food Park Now Open (January 30, 2018)

Binalot Avida Towers Centera Now Open (January 29, 2018)

Pinoy fast food chain Binalot expands in UAE

By The GNP Team – January 6, 2018

Homegrown Filipino fastfood Binalot has recently opened 2 more outlets in the United Arab Emirates.

The 2nd UAE branch of Binalot opened in Deira City Centre, the busiest mall in Dubai where most Filipinos frequent. The latest one is the Little Manila Abu Dhabi branch at Al Roumi Building, Fatima Bint Mubarak Street, Al Dhafrah (across Burjeel Hospital).

Binalot President Rommel Juan visited Abu Dhabi for the grand opening which was graced by Ambassador Constancio Vingno, Jr.

“We are very happy with the opening of Binalot Abu Dhabi because it is sure to be the destination of choice for Filipinos in Abu Dhabi,” said Juan in a media release sent to GoodNewsPilipinas.

Binalot Fiesta Foods initially entered the Middle East market by granting a franchise to the Al Ahli Group, a large Dubai-based conglomerate.

The partnership flourished into creating the largest All Filipino Food Court in Dubai called Little Manila.

Little Manila boasted of 1000 square meter dining space with 10 Filipino brands to choose from.

Little Manila quickly became the “in” place to dine among the Filipino communities in Dubai where big crowds can commune, feel at home and enjoy Filipino food. It became the cure for homesickness for the Filipinos in Dubai.

Binalot is the flagship brand of Little Manila, serving its famous All Time Pinoyvorites like Adobo, Tapa, Sinigang and Bistek. It now even offers boodle fights for groups of 10 to 20 people.

Pinoy fast food chain Binalot expands in UAE

Binalot Amaia Steps Bicutan Now Open (November 26, 2017)

Binalot Balanga Bataan Now open! (November 23, 2017)

Visit our new look! Binalot Fisher Mall

Binalot expands to Middle East, opens 2 branches

 (The Philippine Star) 

MANILA, Philippines — Homegrown fastfood chain Binalot Fiesta Foods Inc. continues its expansion abroad with the opening of two new outlets in the United Arab Emirates.

Binalot president Rommel Juan said the company opened branches in Deira City Centre, a mall in Dubai frequently visited by many Filipinos, as well as in a Filipino-themed food court called Little Manila in Abu Dhabi.

“We are very happy with the opening of Binalot Abu Dhabi because it is sure to be the destination of choice for Filipinos in Abu Dhabi,” Juan said.

“We look forward to more store openings of Binalot with the Al Ahli Group. But right now, we will work hard to serve the Filipinos in our UAE branches in order to give them the best tasting and best quality Filipino food possible,” he added.

Binalot entered the Middle East market by granting a franchise to Dubai-based conglomerate Al Ahli Group.

Its first outlet in the UAE is located at the Little Manila Dubai branch.

“Little Manila quickly became the in place to dine among the Filipino communities in Dubai where big crowds can commune, feel at home and enjoy Filipino food.  It became the cure for homesickness for the Filipinos in Dubai,” Juan said.

According to Juan, Filipinos account for about 30 percent of the workforce in Dubai, while in the entire UAE, there are around one million Filipino workers.

He said a study commissioned by the Al Ahli Group found that 80 percent of Filipinos in the UAE eat out, a proof that their spending power has increased.

“Binalot will be following the Filipino community around the world as it promotes Filipino family values of dining together even in these busy times when all time left for get-togethers will be over food,” Juan said.

Things to consider before franchising a business

Armando O. Bartolome

MANILA – For those who are thinking of franchising a business, here’s a guide to get you started.

Most entrepreneurs consider franchising because they feel this would somehow give them an edge versus starting from scratch.

• You know that any kind of business could be risky. Are you prepared to put your own money at risk? It will help you decide if you are ready for that bold move.

• As franchisees, there are rules that you need to observe. You should be amenable to the franchise agreement. Otherwise, you will get yourself in trouble.

• Do this simple math: assets – liabilities = net worth. Some franchisors may have a specific net worth requirement.

• Instead of just choosing from available franchise opportunities, consider your skills and capabilities.

• Any earnings-related questions may not be easily disclosed by your franchisor representative. Ask from current franchisees.

• Having a franchise business may have been playing in your mind for months, but be sure that you create a business plan. This will be helpful in case you apply for a loan.


Having a franchise business may give you several good points.

• Sticking with a well-known brand gives you an edge.

• The franchisor should be able to provide you with the necessary knowledge on how to get started.

• You will not worry about the equipment to be used in the business because these come with the agreed franchising fee.

• Buying supplies from the franchisor is less expensive.

• With the backing of a franchisor, it will be easier for you to get financing.

• The franchisor will provide support on marketing and advertising, though at a cost.

• If you have started your own business, your return of investment may take about between five to seven years. But with an established brand, the company’s projection is anytime between two to three years.

• Franchisors provide seminars and training for franchisees.

• Franchisees need not be burdened on coming up with new products or innovations.

• Franchisors have a team that can help provide the best locations possible.

• Just in case a franchisee decides to discontinue the business after the contract, it will be easier for the franchisee to sell it back to the franchisor.

For questions and more information, you may contact Armando “Butz” Bartolome by email: or on Twitter His website is