Which franchise concepts have gone to the great franchise graveyard in the sky? I believe the novelty of donuts has run its course. Hasta la Vista to pasta and the bar has seen better days.
The rest concepts listed below remain among the best business franchise opportunities for 2017. There are quite a good number of new entries which I am confident will continue to build their consumer base in 2017.
Best Business Franchise Opportunities in the Philippines for 2017
I. Food Kiosks
Almost every month there is a new burger concept opening up. It appears there is no clear answer to the question, “How many ways can you cook a burger?”
The hamburger is like vanilla ice cream. The concept is so simple that it is open to so many variations. However, the creativity and pricing have gone out of control. Do you want gold shavings on your burger? A burger is just ground beef inside a bun.
I hope that for 2017 hamburger-connoisseurs focus on the quality of the meat rather than the number of toppings you can fit under the bun. If you’re putting too much garnishing on your burger, you must be hiding the quality of the meat.
2. Fried Chicken
Just like the burger, fried chicken connoisseurs apparently have found new ways to create an interesting batter and breading. There are new fried chicken restaurants opening up, and some of them are not located inside the mall. You have to go out your way to find them.
Fried chicken remains popular because of its rich taste and it goes well with rice. The chicken pieces, if you’ve noticed are getting smaller. I am wondering though why a beer drinking country like the Philippines doesn’t use beer to make fried chicken batter.
3. Roasted Chicken
Reports of the demise of Roasted Chicken are highly exaggerated. You just don’t find the best ones inside the mall anymore!
The best roasted chicken concepts are found on the streets where proprietors use real charcoal and the great outdoors as its exhaust. The chicken is much juicier, and they use larger cuts. Best of all, you can get a whole chicken for under 200 Pesos!
Plus, roasted chicken is healthy. Did you know you can eat roasted chicken skin? It is high in selenium, a powerful antioxidant that can reduce the risk of cancer.
4. Bacon-Themed Concepts
Can you name one food item that will not taste great with bacon? Don’t say “ice cream” because “Bacon Ice Cream with Maple Syrup” is out-of-this-world awesome!
I went to an outdoor food market, and one of the proprietors was selling bacon wrapped beef BBQ sticks for 140 Pesos. It was so good! The bacon kept the beef very moist and tasty. There are also restaurants that serve “bottomless bacon” for a minimum price.
Bacon themed concepts are a good bet as one of the best business franchise opportunities in 2017 simply because everything tastes better with bacon. We have a solid market of bacon lovers in the country.
5. Fresh Cut Potato Chips
I’m sure you’ve seen this at night markets. Potato chips fried from fresh cut potatoes and strung up in a long stick. Well, there are newer concepts now.
They need to make it crispy which they can’t if you fry the potatoes right after cutting them. The trick is to soak them overnight to remove the excess starches before frying them. If I know this technique, I’m sure the proprietors know it too. I think they’re promoting the fresh concept which doesn’t work because it’s not healthy in the first place.
6. BBQ Stands
There are BBQ stands located popular retail stores and in every street corner. In addition to the traditional pork BBQ, you also have classic street fare such as “Betamax” and “Isaw.”
BBQ is accepted food fare in the Philippines. It goes well with rice or on its own. Best of all it is affordable. BBQ sticks range from 25 to 40 Pesos a stick. Filipinos love their BBQ to be savory-sweet. All you need is vinegar, and you’re good to go.
7. Chicken Wings
Chicken wings gained popularity in 2010 and have never looked back. More wing houses are sprouting with each new franchise offering new sauces and seasonings.
The secret of having good chicken wings is in the oil. The best ones use peanut oil which has a high smoking point and has good flavor. Wings are a high food cost item. Do not expect good profit margins unless you price six wings for 300 Pesos or more.
8. Ramen House
Have you been to a good ramen house lately? Probably so because there have been quite a few that opened up the last few years. With Ramen, pricing is not an indicator of quality.
After putting it off for years because it was so expensive, I finally tried one of the most popularly reviewed Ramen houses.
And it was a disappointment. There are Ramen houses which offer better quality food at lower prices because this is not a high food cost item. The secret lies in the broth which is often re-used for a stronger flavor.
I almost put Pizza along the same category as donuts and pasta, but it continues to remain popular. There aren’t any new franchises worth mentioning but an old favorite “Di Mark’s” appears to be expanding again.
The best pizza I’ve tried is “Big Apple.” It’s probably the only franchise which uses pesto oil on the pizza. Unfortunately, it closed shop. My guess is food margins did them in.
One of the pleasant surprises is the return of the hotdog. I’m not talking about the steamed hotdog on a soggy bun. These are premium hotdogs that are grilled and topped with exotic flavorings such as kimchi, Swiss Cheese, seaweed, wasabi mayo, bacon and Mexican chili.
Popular LA landmark “Pink’s” opened at Bonifacio High Street and I understand the restaurant is always packed. Hotdogs are a low food cost item, but the toppings will reduce your margins. If you want to put up a hotdog stand, stick with the basic toppings like chili, cheese, and bacon.
Among the fast food standards, I believe hotdogs will be a better business franchise opportunity in 2017 than chicken or hamburgers which are slowly becoming saturated markets.
I used to think the churros served at S&R were the best until I came across the specialty churros served at Bonifacio High Street and Muntinlupa.
There’s nothing complicated about churros. It’s just fried pancake batter. But people love them because they’re convenient to eat and churros go well with hot chocolate or ice cream. Churros will be one of your better business franchise opportunities in 2017 because it is still a growing market.
The old standby favorites like Siomai and Siopao remain popular with blue collar and white collar people alike.
Siomai is cheap; for around 50 Pesos gets you a full meal with rice and sago gulaman. It is a low food cost item, easy to make and you only cook it when you are running down an available stock.
To improve your food cost, just stick to traditional pork siomai and work on the toyo garlic sauce.
13. Street Food
Fish balls, Squid balls, Chicken balls and kikiam still bring in the crowds in every street corner. Street food is a low cost, a low-capital business which pays you cash.
If you can come up with a variety of sauces and options with rice, you should be able to make good daily income with street food.
14. Health Food
From personal observation, I believe Filipinos are slowly becoming open to health food.
I hope some daring entrepreneur would introduce the “Acai Bowl” concept in the Philippines. This will be one of the best franchise opportunities in 2017 because it is an untapped market.
Acai is an antioxidant packed fruit found in Brazil. An Acai Bowl is mixed with high fiber oats, almond milk, and nuts. I think it would do very well in a high-end location.
Another concept would be the fruit salads served in Mexico called Frutas Con Limon Y Chile where the vendor piles on a variety of fresh fruits inside a plastic bag, adds citrus juice and a dash of chili powder.
Cupcakes are very expensive, but they still draw a good sized crowd. To be honest, I’m surprised at the success of cupcake stores. Donuts are more affordable and also go well with coffee.
But a cupcake culture has cultivated in the Philippines. I don’t see or taste the difference between the franchises operating today. The varieties are similar: red velvet, peanut butter, vanilla frosting. The differentiator should be the price.
16. Specialty Bake Shops
The smell of freshly baked bread will always draw attention. “The French Baker” harnessed the carbohydrate culture of the Filipinos and became one of the most successful franchises of all time.
Soon we had foreign bakeshops in the Philippines offering other products such as pastries, filled bread and cakes. I’ve come across supermarket chains introducing their line of freshly baked products, and I’ve seen new franchises set up in strip malls.
There will always be a market for bread products because Filipinos don’t care about low carbohydrate diets. We eat because we work hard and need energy!
17. Coffee Houses
Coffee is a safe venture because it is a low food cost item, it has a long shelf life, and the culture is firmly entrenched in our society. Filipinos will drink coffee in any shape or form. It doesn’t matter if it’s instant or if it comes from the vending machine. If you have the capital, the concept of having a coffee shop will be a good venture in 2017.
I hope someone will develop a coffee house concept where there are areas which are soundproofed for privacy. I would pay a premium to have some privacy when I have my coffee or meetings.
18. Soft Serve Ice Cream
Outside “Dairy Queen” I did not think the other ice cream concepts would last. They were more of a novelty item and to be honest; the pricing did not justify the experience.
But ice cream continues to be popular in the Philippines. I would suggest getting into soft serve ice cream rather than premium ice cream. The cost of the machine is expensive, but you can recover it with volume.
19. Takoyaki Balls
Takoyaki is traditional Japanese street food. It is squid that is fried in batter. I did not think much of the local Takoyaki stalls we have in the malls until I came across one in SM.
This was the only authentic Takoyaki stall you can find in the Philippines. They use real squid, and it comes with a variety of flavors. It’s more expensive; I spent almost 200 Pesos for 12 pieces, but it was worth it.
There is a branding issue with the franchise as obviously, I can’t remember the name!
20. Steak Houses
Another pleasant surprise in SM was an affordably priced steak house which served Porterhouse for 150 Pesos. I gave it a try and thought the steak was expertly seasoned and well cooked.
Affordable steak houses are an upcoming concept in the Philippines. I ate at one called “Fat Frank’s” which served 350g Porterhouse steaks at prices 1/10th the cost of premium steak houses.
I think if you can come up with good-sized, tender steaks at affordable prices, you could have one of the best business franchise opportunities in 2017.
21. Bulgogi Stores
Korean food is also a consistent favorite among Filipinos. Bulgogi has a spicy-sweet flavor and is served with generous portions of rice.
A good concept for Bulgogi is to offer different serving sizes and to have condiments available for a price. It would be good to have unique variations such as chicken, pork, fish and vegetable available.
22. French Fries
French fries are so popular in the Philippines it seems like it is part of the national diet. French fries are a low food cost item which you can even improve simply by making them from scratch.
I’ve seen new concepts where the stall offers wedges and round cut fries. The problem is with the quality of the batter and the frying technique. The fries are not crispy at all.
A good idea would be to adopt the Pomme Frites concept from France and serve the fries in cones with assorted toppings.
23. Halo-Halo Stands
Rain or summer, the halo-halo just like coffee knows no seasons. You can have halo-halo on a cold night or a warm, sunny day. It’s a comforting food.
You should just invest in a good ice shaver which can make smooth ice. The ones they serve at popular fast food restaurants tend to clump up and have the texture of ice cubes.
“Razon’s” and “Teresita’s” are still the standard bearers when it comes to halo-halo. The key is not the toppings you put but the quality of the ice.
I’m always looking for a good shawarma, and I’m lucky that there’s always a new one opening up. So far, the taste has been generic. The flavors have been customized to the Filipino taste; sweet and spicy.
I like the more authentic ones where you can taste and smell the cumin and other spices. It makes no sense to come up with sweet, spicy flavors then offer garlic mayo and hot sauce which are also sweet and spicy.
The US brands which opened a few months ago have been inconsistent in quality. The last one I ordered had more vegetables than meat, and I presume the 400 Pesos I paid for was for the meat.
25. Milk Tea
So far, Milk Tea has not gone the way of pearl shakes. It still remains popular with Filipinos.
A concept I hope someone would introduce in the Philippines is “Teh Tarik.” This is traditional Malaysian pulled tea where the frothing is created by slowly pulling apart two kettles filled with tea and milk.
It would be a great visual spectacle although a lot of cleaning would have to be done. Tea pulling takes time and practice.
26. Rice Bowls
Have you eaten at “Recovery Food”? It’s probably the best rice bowl concept we have today because the servings are generous, the quality of food is great, and it is priced affordably. They even have the option for brown rice!
Rice bowls will continue to remain a favorite among Filipinos because we are voracious rice eaters. The average Filipino eats 123 kilos of rice a year. That’s almost a pound of rice per day!
Related: 10 Things to Consider Before Owning a Food Franchise in the Philippines
27. Convenience Stores
Established chains of convenience stores such as “7-11” and “Mini Stop” now have competition.
Over the last few years “Family Mart,” “All Day” and “Lawson’s” have been setting up branches all over Metro Manila. Oil companies have their brands such as “Select” for Shell and Petron’s “Treats.”
Goods sold in the convenience store are more expensive. However, Filipinos go there for the experience.
“Family Mart” sells fresh sandwiches and exotic flavors of soft serve ice cream. “7-11” has the “Slushee” and of course the steamed hotdogs and Siopao.
If you want to set up a convenience store, come up with an original concept and a different food selection to entice your market.
28. Car Wash
Automated car wash services apparently did not interest Filipinos. For my money, a manual car wash services are better because the work is more deliberate.
The going rate for car wash services is 60 to 150 Pesos for the standard wash. You don’t need much capital for car wash services just a large enough area to accommodate a lot of cars and a team of hard working people.
29. Home Cleaning
More people are getting into the home cleaning business because they know most households cannot attend to this chore anymore. The basic fees average 15 to 35 Pesos per square meter with additional charges if the cleaning extends past 2 hours.
This type of business does not require much capital either. Most of the equipment used is standard for home cleaning. You will need 3 to 4 people to clean a three bedroom house.
30. Carpet Cleaning
Homes that have carpets should have these cleaned and maintained at least every six months. If the homeowner has pets, the carpets should be cleaned every three months.
For offices, hotels, and restaurants it may have to be cleaned every month depending on the level of activity. You will have to invest in an industrial steam cleaner and a variety of cleaning chemicals. If you can get a maintenance contract with a few hotels, you could be in big business.
In the 1990s there were only a few Laundromats in the Philippines. Today there are more brands operating Laundromats including self-service ones.
Laundromat service will require a large investment. You need an industrial laundry machine which will cost at least 350,000 Pesos. Add to that the cost of the industrial dryer, and you’re looking at a minimum Php1 Million investment.
The key is to get a high traffic location that will bring in business even on the weekends.
In my observation, self-service or coin laundries are a better business franchise opportunity because it offers lower priced services. You can improve your value proposition by including folding services and selling food within the premises.
32. Landscaping or Gardening
If you have a green thumb, why not get into landscaping and gardening? You have many potential clients from residences, subdivisions, hotels and resorts.
This is not capital extensive. You only need to buy the basic gardening and landscaping tools. Hire assistants only when you have work. Clients usually pay 50% down payment for your services.
33. Pest Control
There will always be demand for pest control services as cities become more congested and urbanized.
You will need to invest in chemicals and proper clothing but if you can build a nice client base, you could have recurring income every month.
34. Water Refilling
People said the water refilling business is saturated, and newer franchises are opening up. There could be a basis for the observation that the market is saturated because prices are coming down.
It would depend on your area, but prices will range from 25 Pesos to 50 Pesos per 5-gallon container.
There will be a substantial investment in infrastructure, and you should expect your monthly expenses to be on the high side. But if you can get the volume, this could still be a good business franchise opportunity in 2017.
35. Fitness Warehouses
Last year I mentioned “Fitness Centers.” Now I hope to see the “Fitness Warehouses” take shape!
These are the large, hangar type, old school gyms that do not feature motorized treadmills or elliptical machines. Your cardio equipment consists of truck tires, a weighted sled, battle ropes, agility cones, medicine ball and a sledgehammer.
Fitness is moving away from traditional equipment to more functional type training. Your biggest expense would be the facility which should be spacious enough to conduct all of the training. If you have friends who share the same advocacy of fitness, get them on board as partners.
36. Internet Shop
“Netopia” is still around and so are other Internet shops that frequently cater to gamers and social media regulars.
There are so many Internet shops that margins may be getting smaller. But demand is still up because our local ISPs remain unreliable. At least with the Internet shop, you have contingencies.
Increase your value proposition by adding services such as copying, printing, graphics design and fax.
37. Financial Consultancy
People can always use financial consultancy. Whether you need advice on your tax returns, insurance plan or where to put your hard-earned money, there will always be a market for consultancy services.
If you have good experience handling people’s money and most importantly, making it grow then set up financial consultancy services. Expand your portfolio by adding equity market analysis, tax accounting, real estate consultation and mortgage evaluation services.
38. Spa or Wellness Centers
This type of business is safe from periods of economic downturn. When Filipinos are having a bad day, a visit to the spa is always a good idea. You don’t need a large space, but you should hire licensed physical therapists that are well-trained in different forms of massage.
39. Tutorial Centers
“Kumon” has remained popular while “e-Nopi” has evolved to “Eye Level Learning Center.” There are newer tutorial centers that have opened up the last few years.
My advice to those who want to open a tutorial service is to offer hands-on instruction to students on their lessons. Most of these centers only provide training on the fundamentals without addressing the current needs of the student. Teach them the basics but also help them understand the calculus lesson they had yesterday.
Also, offer more subjects than just Math and English.
40. Digital Print Shops
Surprisingly digital print shops are still in existence even in this day and age when online marketing trumps traditional marketing.
Companies still have billboards, posters, flyers and streamers made. It is not an efficient or sustainable approach to marketing, but companies still do it because it is an accepted practice.
You will need to invest in digital printers which may cost 200,000 Pesos up. But if you are willing to do the legwork and get clients, you could make good money every month.
Start your franchise business in the Philippines for 2017
So where can you get a franchise? You can visit the website of the Philippine Franchising Association (PFA) and get more information on how to contact their member-franchises. There are also banks which offer financial packages to select franchises.
But should you get a franchise?
For years, people would always advise entrepreneurs to go with franchise for two reasons:
With the Internet and social media, branding is no longer a significant factor. There are local proprietors who can build their brand via social media on the strengths of their product quality and excellent service.
Expertise is also over-rated because today’s markets are more dynamic. The tastes and demand preferences are harder to pinpoint simply because consumers are more well-informed. The Internet has tilted the balance of power toward the consumer.
Even if you go with a franchise, its existing systems and frameworks will have to evolve as its markets. It will become more complicated if you and the principal do not agree on the course of action.
Franchises are also expensive. You have to pay for the area development rights plus the monthly royalty and advertising fees.
If you want to get a franchise, go ahead but be wary of the charges and make sure you get total support.
But if you have the experience, expertise, know-how and the confidence, start a franchise on your own. Create a product or a service, build it from scratch and fine tune the system as you move along.
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