3 Business Tips from the COO of Tapa King
Tapa King is known as the only specialized fast-casual Filipino restaurant specializing in the breakfast staple: tapa. It is also a source of pride for the Philippines for making waves in the local and global markets, even amidst the pandemic. Its chief operations officer Melodee Isaguirre claims that 2021 was the best year for the mass favorite tapa brand.
“2021 became our banner year,” she shared during Francorp’s How to Franchise Your Business Seminar. “Our team persisted to launch our re-branded concept in June 2020 at the height of the pandemic. After that we received inquiries from both local and international scenes, allowing us to open 11 stores during the pandemic, and that includes our fourth store in Dubai. This is one of the (reasons) why 2021 became our banner year. We have great teamwork. I truly believe that teamwork makes the dream work.”
When Tapa King opened its first store, the goal was simple: to carve out a spot where busy meat lovers can enjoy a classic homestyle favorite, even while on the go. But over the years, its signature tapa has become an everyday staple, not just in the Philippines but all over the world.
Isaguirre explained how Tapa King did it. “We increased and strengthened our commitment to boost our efficiency. Our food cost improved by four percent versus last year. So, we get additional revenue streams, through franchising also, and key accounts. We made our frozen tapa available across all key players like Landers, Waltermart, and SM Stores, apart from our bottled merchandise and so on.
“We focused on people, we focused on brand, and we focused on system enhancement,” she added.
When asked if this was the right time to franchise, Isaguirre answered yes. “Although the pandemic may not seem like an ideal time to expand through franchising, businesspeople who are ready to do the necessary preparations have a major opportunity for success.”
Isaguirre shared three tips for would-be franchisors:
1| Franchisors should assess the potential franchisee.
Isaguirre said that franchisors must ask potential franchisees with a lot of questions. One of those is, “Do you believe in the brand?” Ultimately, they will become brand ambassadors. “They must believe and trust in the brand,” she said. Other questions franchisors must ask include their knowledge of the brand, their support systems, and other technical aspects.
2| Franchisors should diversify revenue streams.
“Take an in-depth look at your business model if there are sustainable ways to increase current resources or pivot to new ones,” Isaguirre explained. New ways to improve profit include adopting off-premise and carry-out services, partnership with aggregators, curbside pickup option, availability of key accounts, and even virtual branding.
3| Franchisors should bolster confidence in safety and brand recognition.
“Franchisors must consider that trust is more important now than ever,” Isaguirre emphasized. “Franchisees and customers are looking for a brand that can uphold food safety practices and consistently do them. It is also a must to make sure that an established franchise system is in place.
Grow your business via franchising! Hear more exclusive franchise tips and get a FREE Franchisability Consultation with Francorp’s How to Franchise Your Business Seminar.
Sam Christopher Lim is the current President of the Philippine Franchise Association; CEO of Francorp Philippines; Co-author of 12 Strategies for Franchising book; President of U-Franchise Sales & Management; and Chairman for ActionCOACH Philippines.