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Francorp - The Franchising Leader in the Philippines

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Archive for June, 2016

5 reasons why investing in a foreign brand is better than starting a business from scratch

Posted on: June 20th, 2016 by Francorp No Comments

Sam Christopher Lim
SVP for Marketing and Strategy, Francorp Philippines

Who is not familiar with food giants like McDonald’s or Starbucks? As an entrepreneur, owning a foreign brand such as these two might be one of your goals. After all, foreign brands are not just the playground of the big players anymore—smaller local players can now also join the fray.

Foreign franchisors now believe that smaller local players, as long as they have enough scale to grow the brand in the Philippines, will actually put more time and attention to the brand compared to bigger players with an already diverse portfolio.

“They don’t just want to be one of the many brands under a bigger company’s portfolio,” notes Hans Clifford Yao, managing director of the Adrenaline Group, which brought in Petit Bateau, a children’s apparel retailer from France, and The Paper Stone, a stationery brand from Singapore. “Because, when that happens, the focus is usually not on their brand but on the company’s more established and bigger brands,” adds Yao.

Indeed, any local entrepreneur now has the equal chance of owning a foreign brand. With this, here are five reasons why it is sometimes better to invest in a foreign brand than to start your own business concept from scratch:

1. Clear branding and marketing guidelines

When you buy a foreign brand, you do not have to invest heavily in the development of a new concept, with its own branding and marketing strategies. Foreign brands already have their own clear and established brand guidelines. And not only has the work already been cut out for you, but it is also a branding and marketing strategy that has been proven to work in different markets.

However, foreign franchisors should also have some flexibility to the local market. A foreign franchisor should not only be willing to adapt to the local market, but should also be willing to put its foot down in the event that certain localization efforts might ruin the integrity of the concept. It is all about maintaining the balance between brand integrity and adaptability.


2. World-class operating standards and products

One of the biggest benefits of buying a foreign brand is you get to learn its best practices, while also getting its world-class franchise support—hence, you would not need to learn how to market and operate a business from scratch.

Also, you will not need to invest heavily for product development as the products are already there, and you will also get continuous research and development support from the mother brand. For example, The Paper Stone has in-house designers from South Korea and Singapore, all of whom lend a deft Asian touch to the brand’s modern designs.

“The Paper Stone creates its own designs. It also comes up with new designs every month, and matches it to their bags, notebooks, and pens,” shares Yao, which the mother brand then shares to all its franchisees in different markets.


3. Faster business set-up

Another benefit of buying a foreign brand is that it assures a faster business set-up. A foreign brand is usually backed by a number of trusted suppliers and service providers, which are hard to come by for most startup entrepreneurs.

For example, contemporary French furniture brand Gautier sent a team of three craftsmen and visual designers from France to help with the construction of its flagship store in the Philippines—this team was able to set up the store in Bonifacio Global City in just three days. Had this been done solely by the local partner, it would have taken at least three months just to set up the store.

But the franchise application is another thing. Aside from leveraging your credentials as an entrepreneur, referrals can also help speed up the application process, says Yao. “For The Paper Stone, the process only took six months,” recalls Yao, in part thanks to referrals from local franchise brokers.


4. Better location options

It can be hard for any startup business to secure a spot in prime locations—which is rather unfortunate since success in business largely depends on location, location, location.

But buying a foreign brand can actually ease this problem, as the brand itself can be leveraged to secure a spot in prime locations such as major malls and real estate developments. Also, foreign brands already have prior experience when it comes to negotiating for good locations in different countries, a skill that any startup entrepreneur has yet to learn.

5. Instant brand recognition

Most foreign brands are easily recognized the world over, thus making it easier for them to find success in different markets. As an entrepreneur, it can be said that the biggest advantage of buying a foreign brand is the fact that you can ride on its brand equity and strength.

But aside from focusing on the obvious choices, such as McDonald’s and Starbucks for example, it might be best to look at the different options available in the market which are still in keeping with your strengths and interests as an entrepreneur.

You can talk to your OFW (overseas Filipino worker) friends and their relatives; you can use them as antennae for up and coming foreign brands. You can ask them what foreign brands are already out there in different countries, and which ones can actually work for the Filipino market.

“Yes, it’s worth it to invest in a foreign brand, especially if you are really addressing a gap in the market and bringing in something new that the local market has been demanding for,” stresses Yao.

Top Singaporean Franchise brands such as Burger UP, Maki San, Wing Zone, Xiao Pan, Joe & Dough and Keisuke Ramen are visiting the Philippines on Jun 23 for an exclusive master franchise business matching event in BGC, for more information you can contact U-Franchise Sales and Management at (02) 634-0586, email or visit!international-franchise-matching/u5mn9


Things You Didn’t Know about Samie Lim, the “Father of Philippine Franchising”

Posted on: June 18th, 2016 by Francorp No Comments

Written by
Sam Christopher Lim
SVP for Marketing and Strategy, Francorp Philippines

photo-2As we celebrate Father’s Day today, allow me to write something in honor of my father, also the “Father of Philippine franchising” himself, Mr. Samson “Samie” Lim.

As a father, he continuously inspires me and my siblings to strive for excellence in our every endeavor. As a “father” to the local franchising industry, he also continuously inspires thousands of homegrown entrepreneurs to aim higher and push their brands to the global stage via franchising.

Here are some things you probably did not know about my father, the “Father of Philippine franchising”:

1. He is also the “father” of Mother’s Day in the Philippines.

Did you know that my father popularized Mother’s Day celebrations in the country? Back in the day, Mother’s Day treats (and even Father’s Day treats) were not yet common, and were usually left in the hands of greeting card companies and flower shops. But as one of the founders of both the Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) and the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA), my father pushed its members—which includes brands like Jollibee, Goldilocks, and Max’s Fried Chicken, just to name a few—to offer special Mother’s Day treats to their customers. “My greatest joy is the fact that I have made a difference in the life of millions of Filipino families with the annual celebration of Mother’s Day,” he says.

2. He didn’t know anything about franchising when he started.

Coming from a family of appliance and furniture retailers, my father already knew his way around business. However, he admits to not knowing much about franchising when he started in the industry 20 years ago. “Everything I learned about franchising, I learned from someone else,” he recalls. In order to learn more about franchising, and to also bring international franchising standards to the country, my father brought in the franchise of world-class franchise consultancy firm Francorp.


3. He is both a franchisor and a franchisee.

My father, needless to say, practices what he preaches as he is a franchisor and a franchisee in his own right. Aside from owning home appliances store Automatic Center and lifestyle furniture store Blims Lifestyle Group, my father is also a franchisor of the world-famous living room essentials store La-Z-Boy Gallery. He is also the master franchise holder in Asia of the Canadian Tourism and Hospitality Institute and, more recently, he also became a franchisee of French furniture brand Gautier.


4. He has a talent for uniting people.

As a retailer, my father already knew that business was his forte. Later on, he realized that he also had a talent for bringing people together. He believes that there is strength in numbers, so he used this talent of his to build business organizations in different industries. He started in his turf, in the appliance and furniture industry. Then, he moved to unite different retailers in the country, giving birth to the PRA, which later on gave birth to the PFA. Now, he is focused on uniting the tourism industry and the private education sector.

5. He once served as Trade undersecretary.

My father’s expertise and influence in the business sector did not go unnoticed. In 1999, my father had the honor to serve as the Undersecretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). During his term, he also became the general manager of the National Development Company, the government’s premier investment arm under the DTI. To this day, he still considers it as one of his greatest accomplishments, alongside the privilege of serving as president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) in 2007.

vice-president6. He wanted to become Vice President of the Philippines.

My father has always been a visionary. In 1975, when he was just 25 years old, he already had great plans on how to build the nation and its industries. Back then, he wanted to enter the political scene and eyed a public office—the vice presidency. “However, the declaration of Martial Law crushed my dream, so I moved to Plan B,” he recalls. His Plan B was to unite different industries through strong business organizations, which he believes can help build the nation together.

7. He was born at home, with the aid of a midwife.

Being one of the country’s most successful retailers, one would think that my father has always had it easy. But did you know that he was born at home, with the aid of a kumadrona (midwife), into a middle-class family in Tondo, Manila right after the war? But his family has always been entrepreneurial, a trait which he obviously inherited—as a kid, my father was already selling batteries to his neighbors. Then, he was granted a scholarship in the Ateneo de Manila University, where he graduated cum laude. And the rest, as they say, is history.

All his life, my father lived by this motto: “to be the greatest service to the greatest number of people.” Today, I can proudly say that my father is living his dream, as he is also “father” to an industry that empowered thousands of entrepreneurs, and currently employs 1.2 million Filipinos across 130,000 outlets all over the country.

To all the fathers out there, may you all have a Happy Father’s Day!

For more information on franchising, contact Francorp Philippines at (02) 638-3149, email info[at], or visit

Singaporean brands eye partners in PH

Posted on: June 17th, 2016 by Francorp No Comments

Sam Christopher Lim, Senior Vice-President, Francorp Philippines

With the Philippines continuing its stellar growth and a young population that gives the Philippines an extra demographic dividend, more and more foreign brands have started to look at the Philippines for expansion opportunities.

Singaporean brands have been at the forefront of exploring franchise expansion in the Philippines.

With Singapore’s strong discipline in execution, and concepts that have been developed both with a mix of Asian and Western tastes and cultures, Singaporean companies have been a favorite among local entrepreneurs.

Casa Italia, The Paper Stone, and Morganfields are some of the Singaporean brands that have recently opened its doors in the Philippines.

In April alone, 13 brands arrived for business-matching sessions with local businessmen including Love Bonito, Commune, Sweetest Moment, Mexout and many more.

These business matching sessions continue on June 23 with the arrival of more international brands in cooperation with the Franchise License Association of Singapore, Astreem Consulting Singapore, Francorp Philippines and U-Franchise.

Owners from top international brands Maki San Create your own Sushi & Salad, H20 Life Source advanced water refilling specialists, Wing Zone from the US, Keisuke Ramen, Burger UP gourmet burgers, Joe & Dough Coffee & Sandwich chain, Pasta Mania and Astreem Consulting are just some of the brands coming to find Philippine franchise partners.

The exclusive business-matching session will happen on June 23 at Le Jardin, Penthouse W Fifth Avenue, Bonifacio Global City. For details and to reserve a slot visit or contact (+632) 634.05.86 or email:

Is there still room for foreign food franchise in PH?

Posted on: June 3rd, 2016 by Francorp No Comments
Filipinos eat accordingly to how they feel, an opportunity indeed for businesses to tap into.
By Sam Christopher Lim
FAMILY AFFAIR. While Filipinos eat around four to five times daily, The Philippines still has a lot of room for growth in the food industry, with 785 people per food establishment. Photo from Flickr

FAMILY AFFAIR. While Filipinos eat around four to five times daily, The Philippines still has a lot of room for growth in the food industry, with 785 people per food establishment. Photo from Flickr

It is an understatement to say that Filipinos like to eat. The word “like” deprives the intimate relationship between Filipinos and food, as it is way deeper than infatuation.

Filipinos eat accordingly to how they feel, as if eating is a celebration of life. Filipinos’ food intake is normally around four to five times a daily. That being said, it is such a crazy and sometimes expensive love affair that evolves not only with the individuals but also more importantly, with the entire food industry of our homeland.

From casual dining restaurants to top-notch fast food chains and small-scale food cart concepts, the industry seems to manifest its peak of growth; boasting thousands of brands, both foreign and local.

With these brands in the market now, most of entrepreneurs ask, “Is there still room for more food brands in the Philippines?”


Compare and contrast


There have been many studies and articles trying to answer this question, with economists highlighting our young demographic as well as rising incomes. But one way to evaluate it is to compare ourselves with our ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian) neighbors.

In Singapore, there are around 32,166 food establishments serving a population of 5.5 million, meaning there are 171 people for every food establishment. Thailand on the other hand has 498 people per food establishment, while Vietnam has 159.

The Philippines still has a lot of room for growth, with 785 people per food establishment. Just mirroring Thailand would give the Philippines potential to grow by over 40% more outlets.

This is why the Philippines has been attracting multiple foreign brands in the past few years. Foreign delegations from Korea, Japan, the US and Europe have been coming in and out to promote concepts for brands that want to franchise in the Philippines.


What concept?

So for business-savvy entrepreneurs, the next question is, “Which concept should I consider?”

Franchising is a great option to look into if business owners want to bring international standards and scalability to their business ventures. A criterion before selecting an international franchise brand is whether business owners want to dominate the market segment and have leadership positioning for their concept. If the answer is yes, then they should go for an international brand and plan to grow their business.

Hsien Naidu, Director of Astreem Consulting Pte Ltd, a Singapore Headquartered Management Consulting Company said, “Selecting a concept is a strategic decision. You have to consider your company’s strengths to make sure you can have leverage on the international standards.”

The search for international brands to franchise with has become tricky and elusive. The solution to this is that business entrepreneurs should plunge themselves in learning international standards and know-how while speaking to owners of international brands.

That’s why on Thursday, June 23, the Franchise License Association of Singapore, the Philippine Franchise Association, Francorp Philippines, Astreem Consulting, and U-Franchise Sales & Management are jointly organizing an international franchise business matching event with over eight international brands, including Wing Zone (100 outlets in the US, 20 in Asia); Maki-San (Create your own Sushi & Salad); Keisuke Ramen; Joe & Dough (coffee and sandwiches); and Burger UP.

It is never too late to think about growing or bringing more food brands in the Philippines. There is still time, room, and more happy tummies to fill. Food is so closely intertwined with the Filipino identity. With this in mind, one thing is certain: a Filipino’s pursuit for food is essential.


To reserve as slot for the free International Franchise Business Matching Event on Jun 23 in Ascott, BGC, register online (!international-franchise-matching/u5mn9) or contact U-Franchise Sales & Management, Tel No.: (+632) 634.05.86 and Email:

How franchising can help you reach 100 outlets for your business

Posted on: June 3rd, 2016 by Francorp No Comments

Franchising has become a favorite expansion model for starting and established entrepreneurs.
By Sam Christopher Lim


When we used to ask entrepreneurs how many outlets they dream to have, they used to say 20, maybe even 50 if they were dreaming big.

But the next generation of entrepreneurs start to realize that 100 outlets, or even 1,000 is within their reach because of franchising. As the market continues to develop and mature over the past 20 years, franchising has become a favorite expansion model for entrepreneurs small and big alike.

The Philippines is one of the most developed Asian markets when it comes to franchising, allowing entrepreneurs who franchise their business to achieve an average of 100 outlets. This is in sharp contrast to Thailand, with only 32 outlets per franchise brand, and Indonesia at 80.

What is it about franchising that allows entrepreneurs to dream big and achieve hundreds of stores?

1. Using other people’s time, money, and people to grow your business
No matter how big your business is or deep your pockets are, every business still always lacks one of these crucial elements. Capital is always an initial issue, but even companies that have access to financing and loans are limited by their growth due to lack of time to focus on expansion or good people to drive the growth and manage outlets in faraway areas.

Great entrepreneurs know that getting the right people is crucial to your growth, and franchising gives you access to other entrepreneurs like you who would stay up all night to solve issues, and would not mind giving up a weekend to make sure issues are fixed. Unlike salaried employees, a franchisee’s success is based on business success, so they have every incentive to make sure the business runs well. It also frees up your time as you take less operational responsibilities and you can then focus on business development, innovation, and brand growth.

In addition, franchising allows you access to capital through franchise fees, royalties, and most importantly the investment that the franchisee makes to open your business. This gives you almost unlimited capital to continue opening new locations in new areas, whether in the Philippines or internationally.

2. Systems. Systems. Systems.
Franchising is all about replicating the success of a business. So when a company decides to franchise, it forces the company to shape up and prepare their systems to be franchised.

Whether done internally or through franchise consultants, it is crucial to have documented systems before you start selling the franchise. From evaluating and preparing the financial statements, to documenting every process in the business and preparing franchise legal agreements, franchising allows you to relook at the business and improve it as you prepare to franchise. We have seen many mom and pop operations dramatically upgrade their operations in a span of six months because of the company’s shared vision of franchising.

3. Franchise support infrastructure.
Filipino entrepreneurs are lucky in that there are strong support infrastructures in the Philippines to help continue building the franchise industry.

The Philippines, for example, has the highest number of Certified Franchise Executives (CFE) outside the US. The CFE is a mark of excellence in the franchise industry and is an accreditation given only to those who have passed through the rigorous CFE education system.

Banks, such as BPI Ka Negosyo, also extend franchise loans both to companies who want to franchise their business, but also to those franchisees wanting to own a franchise.

We also have the Philippine Franchise Association, a key members of the World Franchise Council, that continually brings in best practices internationally and helps grow, regulate, and develop the franchise industry.

Franchising continues to allow the next generation of entrepreneurs to grow exponentially. With over 1,600 brands franchising in the Philippines, the sector continues to expand from food, retail, service, education, and other industries. And with more entrepreneur expanding through franchising, the Philippines continues to be the franchising hub of Asia.

The search is on for the NxtGen in Franchising Award winner. The Philippine Franchise Association is searching entrepreneurs 18 to 35 years old with an ambition to grow their business through franchising and have the potential to be the NxtGen Franchise Leader. Deadline is on Friday, May 20. For more details, contact (+632) 687-03 65 to 67; (+63917) 832-0732; or visit