6 Tips for New and Aspiring Entrepreneurs, from a Food Stall Franchisee
There are always two sides to every situation. The key to finding success is understanding both sides and seizing the opportunity to make something good out of it.
Instead of getting hampered by the pandemic lockdowns, Mr. Manuel Sy-Quia saw it as a time for a change in his life.
As a longtime professional with years of experience working in different companies, Sy-Quia decided to resign from work and focus more on his graduate studies and family before the pandemic hit. The first time he came across Bang Bang Special Crispy Bangus was during a lockdown when his mother saw an ad on Facebook. They eventually went to pick up an order from a branch in Pasig. This encounter would pave the way for a change in his life.
“I liked their product,” Sy-Quia says. “I thought it was really good, really flavorful, and clean tasting.” Apart from these, he also found several reasons to invest and franchise the brand. “When I visited their stall in Amang Rodriguez, I was impressed with the store design and the packaging. I thought it showed good attention to detail and customer experience on the part of Ms. Lucci and Sir Mike Canlas (husband-and-wife owners of the brand).”
Sy-Quia knows that there aren’t many franchises that specialize in fish takeout and he thought investing in one would set him up for a market that might diversify away from chicken and pork. “Bang Bang was still growing and I had the chance to be one of the pioneering franchisees. I figured out that after meeting Ms. Lucci, they had the chops to really grow the brand,” he adds.
In April 2021, Sy-Quia opened his Bang Bang franchise store along the busy road of Shaw Boulevard, right across the street where PhilHealth Central is located. In celebration of its first anniversary this month, he shares his insights and tips to fellow entrepreneurs.
Six tips for fellow entrepreneurs
1| Take the challenge and seize the opportunity
The pandemic has brought insurmountable challenges, and for Sy-Quia’s business venture, the challenge lies in getting the market’s attention.
“People’s spending habits may have changed, but they are still spending,” he says.
Today, Bang Bang’s brand is one of the hottest franchise concepts in the country, with 50 stores and growing since it started in June 2020. Sy-Quia’s decision to seize the opportunity and franchise the brand has made him one of the pioneers of its now increasing success.
2| Find the best possible location
“Probably the biggest challenge I had when I was starting out was finding a suitable location with affordable rent,” Sy-Quia says. “The location I have now is good, but it is noisy and dusty. It's also bigger than what we need, but from a price per square meter perspective, it was a steal.”
Situated along Shaw Boulevard, his Bang Bang store is very visible and convenient. The branch is accessible to passers-by, vehicles, neighborhoods, and government and corporate offices and businesses in the area. Food delivery riders also find it very easy to locate the branch.
3| Choose a brand that captures the market
When it comes to brand and marketing, Bang Bang is on point. Owners Mike and Lucci Canlas have extensive background in these aspects, helping ensure that the all-Filipino brand is a hit. Bang Bang has an impressive marketing portfolio that focuses on capturing the market, physically and digitally, with solid branding, carefully designed stores and materials, and attention-grabbing strategies and online presence.
“We get a fair amount of customers from FoodPanda and Grab, which in turn had a lot of adoption because of the lockdown,” Sy-Quia says. “Alert Level 1 has also been a huge boon to us because PhilHealth, for example, has been ordering more regularly from us. In terms of profit and customers, he states, “So far, it's been alright. We have regular customers now.”
4| Aim to diversify
Opening up another franchise is not far from Sy-Quia’s vision. Right now, he is focused on finding a good synergy in his venture. “I’d like to maximize the use of space and also to maximize labor. I’m actually looking at becoming a product reseller,” he explains.
He added that there are lull periods during operating hours and it would be a great idea to have the possibility to include ready-to-eat, easy-to-prepare items in his store for added income stream.
“Right now, I'm looking for opportunities that will synergize with what I have and it makes trying out new things more exciting since there's the potential to find something I can resell,” he says.
5| Find good staff and treat them well
Treating his staff well has been a prime commitment for Sy-Quia. When asked about how franchising has changed his life, he says he now has a deeper appreciation of how difficult it is to run a business.
“I have immense gratitude to my staff and the Bang Bang team for all the support they’ve given to making the enterprise work,” he shares.
He adds that he never had problems with the staff getting caught behind quarantine checkpoints and they were fairly quick to get vaccinated as soon as their LGU had vaccines available. In any kind of business, treating the staff well is a sure-fire way to motivate and encourage them to become dedicated to their work and the brand.
6| Keep tabs on your capital expenses
“Honestly, cash flow was a big challenge. While I was almost always able to pay my staff on time, paying for inventory was a different matter. Thankfully Bang Bang was very accommodating in that respect,” shares Sy-Quia.
He suggests fellow entrepreneurs to invest in a good POS system in order to have better visibility over what is happening in the business. Monitoring all aspects of the cash flow and having specific financial targets can significantly prop up a more stable business.
One year since he became a Bang Bang franchisee, Sy-Quia is on the road to getting good returns on his investment.
“Once I have that, I’d like to start profit-sharing with my employees,” he says. “I'd also like to eventually invest more into the space we're renting and perhaps bring in other franchise concepts. Ideally, my store would be a long-term source of cash flow for myself and my staff, and also an institution in the neighborhood.”
Are you interested in franchising Bang Bang Special Crispy Bangus? You may contact the following for more information: (+632) 8634.05.86 or (+632) 8634.37.17 / (+63920) 983.02.47 or (+63917) 881.69.99 / [email protected]
Sam Christopher Lim is the CEO of Francorp Philippines; Co-author of 12 Strategies for Franchising; President of U-Franchise Sales & Management; President of the Philippine Franchise Association; and Chairman for ActionCOACH Philippines.