Several Singaporean food and beverage firms seek franchise partners in PHL

In Photo: Sam Christopher Lim (from left), U-Franchise president; Donna Lee, Franchising and Licensing Association (FLA) chairman; Michelle Kwok, FLA assistant general manager; and Abhishek Dale, Astreem director, share a light moment before the news conference of “Master Franchise Meet and Match”—an exclusive business-matching event with top Singaporean franchise brands scouting for Philippine partners.

Seven food and beverage companies from Singapore on Thursday expressed interest in expanding to the Philippines, saying they are currently on the lookout for local franchise partners.

Singaporean brands—Wing Zone, BurgerUp, H2O Life Source, Maki-San, Joe & Dough, Keisuke Ramen and Xiao Ban Café—are eyeing potential master franchisees who will help them penetrate the Philippine market.

The companies were introduced during a business-matching session in Taguig on Thursday. The event was organized by U-Franchise Sales and Management, together with the Philippine Franchise Association, Franchise and Licensing Association (FLA) Singapore, Astreem Consulting and Francorp Philippines.

U-Franchise President Sam Christopher Lim said the demographics, as well as the stable economic status of the country, has attracted these brands to the Philippines.

“We have such a big demographic. We have around 100 million, as compared to [Singapore’s population of] 3 million or 4 million,” Lim said.

“But more important, we have one of the youngest populations. If you notice, these brands are actually targeting the millennials, the young people,” he added.

Lim said the number of middle- class Filipinos—who are also these companies’ target market—is slowly on the rise, making the country an attractive market.

FLA Singapore Chairman Donna Lee also told reporters the support given by the Singaporean government encourages small and medium enterprises to invest in international expansion.

She said entrepreneurs who are keen on going to other countries can ask for a grant from the government of Singapore, which subsidizes 60 percent to 70 percent of the total cost of their investment.

According to Lim, business matching with Singaporean companies gives Philippine entrepreneurs access to brands that adhere to international standards. He said international brands invest in great systems, as well as their branding and marketing.

“There are also so many unique concepts [in different countries]. The entrepreneurs locally don’t have to do trial and error anymore, they can just learn from international concepts,” he added.

Most of the Singaporean companies also said they are open to sourcing their raw materials and ingredients locally.

Damien Koh, director of specialty coffee shop Joe & Dough, said sourcing raw ingredients locally will ensure the quality and affordability of their products.

“We want to make sure we can get access to good coffee here, if there will be partners who can do that. Because that way, it will help us bring our costs down, improve the quality of our coffee and [enable us] to give back to the [local economy],” Koh told the BusinessMirror.

The six other F&B companies from Singapore also have unique offerings. For one, Wing Zone—a US-based restaurant with a casual-dining concept and serves American food—offers classic hamburgers and 17 flavors of buffalo wings. Singapore hosts its regional headquarters.

BurgerUp also offers burgers but it has customizable menu choices. It has an ordering system that makes use of technologies, such as interactive self-ordering kiosks and mobile apps.

Maki-San is Singapore’s first design-it-yourself sushi joint with over 70 ingredients to choose from, and Keisuke Ramen is a restaurant chain in Singapore with over 50 stores.

Soy-based products are the specialty of Xiao Ban Café, a popular brand in Singapore.

Among the firms introduced on Thursday, only H2O Life Source is present in the Philippines. Kenneth Wong, group managing director, said the company targets to open 1,000 stations in the country in the next three years.

Meanwhile, Lee said FLA is keen on bringing in more Singaporean companies in the country, particularly from the education and beauty sectors.

“We hope to bring in more companies from other sectors, like education. I think there’s interest in education here. Education enrichment is needed in the Philippines,” she said.


Image credits: Nonie Reyes


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