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Is there still room for new food brands in the Philippines?

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It is an understatement to say that Filipinos like to eat. The word ‘like’ deprives the intimate relationship between Filipinos and food, as it is way deeper than infatuation. Filipinos eat accordingly to how they feel, as if eating is a celebration of life. Filipinos’ food intake is normally around 4-5 times a daily. That being said, it is such a crazy and sometimes expensive love affair that evolves not only with the individuals but also more importantly, with the entire food industry of our homeland.

From casual dining restaurants to top-notch fast food chains and small-scale food cart concepts, the industry seems to manifest its peak of growth; boasting thousands of brands, both foreign and local. With these brands in the market now, most of Entrepreneurs ask, “Is there still room for more food brands in the Philippines?”

There have been many studies and articles trying to answer this question, with economists highlighting our young demographic as well as rising incomes. But one way to evaluate it is to compare ourselves with our ASEAN neighbors. In Singapore, there are around 32,166 food establishments serving a population of 5.5 million, meaning there are 171 people for every food establishment. Thailand on the other hand has 498 people per food establishment, while Vietnam has 159. The Philippines still has a lot of room for growth, with 785 people per food establishment. Just mirroring Thailand would give the Philippines potential to grow by over 40% more outlets.

This is why the Philippines has been attracting multiple foreign brands in the past few years. Foreign delegations from Korea, Japan, the US and Europe have been coming in and out to promote concepts for brands that want to franchise in the Philippines.

So for business savvy entrepreneurs, the next question is, “Which concept should I consider?”

Franchising is a great option to look into if business owners want to bring international standards and scalability to their business ventures. A criterion before selecting an International Franchise Brand is whether business owners want to dominate the market segment and have leadership positioning for their concept. If the answer is yes, then they should go for an International Brand and plan to grow their business.

Hsien Naidu, Director of Astreem Consulting Pte Ltd, a Singapore Headquartered Management Consulting Company said, “Selecting a concept is a strategic decision. You have to consider your company’s strengths to make sure you can have leverage on the International Standards”. The search for international brands to franchise with has become tricky and elusive. The solution to this is that business entrepreneurs should plunge themselves in learning international standards and know-how while speaking to owners of international brands.

That’s why last June 23, the Franchise License Association of Singapore, the Philippine Franchise Association, Francorp Philippines, Astreem Consulting and U-Franchise Sales & Management jointly organized an international franchise business matching event with over 8 international brands including Wingzone (100 outlets in the US, 20 in Asia), Maki-San (Create your own Sushi & Salad), Keisuke Ramen, Joe and dough (Coffee & Sandwiches), and Burger UP.

It is never too late to think about growing or bringing more food brands in the Philippines. There is still time, room, and more happy tummies to fill. Food is so closely intertwined with the Filipino identity. With this in mind, one thing is certain: a Filipino’s pursuit for food is essential.

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