How can foodpreneurs grow their business?
Globe myBusiness, Globe Telecom’s micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) arm and UnionBank GlobalLinker, UnionBank’s digital platform for business owners, invited the country’s biggest online food community Let’s Eat Pare to learn useful business tips and hacks from members of Entrepreneurs’ Organization Philippines, a peer-to-peer network of influential business owners.
The learning session, entitled Let’s Talk Business, Pare! was an opportunity for both Globe myBusiness and UnionBank GlobalLinker to collaborate on a shared goal: equipping MSMEs with the tools and expertise to help them grow their business.
According to Debbie Obias, vice president of segment marketing for Globe myBusiness, linking MSMEs to seasoned mentors and industry experts is essential to building on their capacities to grow, whether for learning or simply for inspiration through Globe myBusiness Academy’s online and on-ground learning sessions.
“For a while now, we have been working with both Entrepreneurs’ Organization and Let’s Eat Pare so we thought: why not create an opportunity where they can interact and learn from one another? That way we can help foodpreneurs scale up and unlock more opportunities,” Obias said. “Empowering MSMEs create a lot of opportunities for organizations to collaborate, which is what we were able to do with UnionBank GlobalLinker.”
“Access to essential tools, resources, technical-know how, and skills-building opportunities is one of the challenges that MSMEs face. One way we’ve addressed this is the introduction of UnionBank GlobalLinker, a free and easy-to-use platform which helps entrepreneurs’ expand their network, build their stores online, and access cost-cutting deals,” UnionBank Vice President and UnionBank GlobalLinker Lead Proponent Dino Velasco added. “While we are making these solutions available, we also work with different communities and organizations like Globe myBusiness to widen the impact we can make for MSMEs.”
During the session, foodpreneurs learned from the success stories of Bo’s Coffee founder and CEO Steve Benitez, Jimini Foods Group managing director Kerwin Tansekiao, Yellow Cab co-founder and founder of The Henry Hotel, Hanky Lee, Mida Food’s president and CEO Enrique Valles, and Nacho King!’s co-founder Michael Singh.
Servings of inspiration and ideas
For foodpreneurs to grow, they must first come up with a strong brand position, the event’s speakers advised. In building Bo’s Coffee, for example, Steve chose to position his brand as the Philippines’ best source of homegrown specialty coffee, all of which are sourced from local coffee farmers. This made Bo’s Coffee the first and largest homegrown specialty coffee chain, a local brand at par with international competitors. Only last year, Bo’s Coffee opened its 100th store in Makati.
On the other hand, using keywords can also help a brand build its identity, communicate more clearly, and leapfrog competition, Hanky said. According to Hanky, owning the term “boutique hotel” is what built The Henry Hotel, which he also founded. The Henry Hotel is known as pioneering brand in that category, with properties in Manila and in Cebu.
Likewise, a foodpreneur can leverage a solid brand to collaborate with other entrepreneurs through franchising and distribution, Michael said. He also recommended the use of influencers to boost credibility and national recognition, especially in a brand’s early stages. To date, Nacho King! has several hundred outlets nationwide, with over 1,000 institutional customers, restaurants, bars, and hotels serving their nachos and dips.
At the same time, Kerwin emphasized the need to constantly invest in support structures that can equip the company in hitting different milestones: manpower, infrastructure, funds, processes, systems, and other tools that can optimize operations. Jimini Foods Inc., which operates Pizza Pedrico’s, has over 800 stores and counter-top operations nationwide.
Foodpreneurs, however, should keep their costs while pursuing growth. According to Rick, finding the right suppliers can help foodpreneurs stay on budget. Drawing from his experience with Mida Food, Rick shared that most large suppliers are willing to do tasks like portioning, pre-marinating, and par frying for a toll processing fee, which gives entrepreneurs more control on cost. In terms of stretching cashflow, Rick recommends having supplier credit terms. Mida Food is currently the Philippines’ leading seafood distributor.
As foodpreneurs pursue growth, Let’s Eat Pare founder Mark del Rosario highlighted that their journey becomes more rewarding when shared with communities who can help them learn.
“Joining communities helps businesses in many ways: they become a source of ideas, broaden your network, and expose you to opportunities like this learning session hosted by Globe myBusiness and UnionBank GlobalLinker,” Mark said.
After sharing about their journeys of building their businesses, the event’s speakers, as well as other members of Entrepreneurs’ Organization, held consultations to make the learning experience more enriching for members of Let’s Eat Pare.