Planning to be a Foodpreneur? Let’s Talk Business, Pare!

The Let’s Talk Business, Pare! Partners: UnionBank VP and UnionBank GlobalLinker Lead Proponent Dino Velasco (left), Globe myBusiness VP for Segment Marketing Debbie Obias (2nd from right) and Let’s Eat, Pare! founder Mark del Rosario (right). Together with them are (from left to right): mentors from Entrepreneurs’ Org—Yellow Cab Co-Founder and Founder of The Henry Hotel, Hanky Lee, Bo’s Coffee Founder and CEO Steve Benitez, Nacho King!’s Co-Founder Michael Singh, Jimini Foods Group Managing Director Kerwin Tansekiao, and Mida Food’s President and CEO Enrique Valles.
September 10, 2018 | 10:54 AM

Speed mentoring session between members of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization and the Let’s Eat Pare! Community.


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 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 countertop 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.


Growing together

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 the members of Let’s Eat Pare.

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