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Franchise Talk: Bringing the Feast from Cebu to the World

By Sam Christopher Lim
SVP for Marketing and Strategy, Francorp Philippines



With a target of reaching 100 stores both locally and internationally, Hukad sa Golden Cowrie has come a long way from its humble beginnings in Cebu in 1982. Kenneth Kokseng, Managing Director of Hukad sa Golden Cowrie shares some insights on what it takes to grow a brand nationally through franchising.


1. With over 40 restaurants across the Visayas and Mindanao, Hukad sa Golden Cowrie continues to expand at an accelerated pace. What’s the secret to your success?

There is no secret to our success. What brought us to where we are right now is how we value not just our customers but also our partners — every one we work with and who have contributed to the growth of the business from our franchisees, suppliers and staff, among others. We always believe in empowering our team and working together to give customers food that is consistent in quality and service that aims to delight for a dining experience that is memorable each and every time. Most of all, we communicate with and listen by heart. We listen  to the needs of our customers and partners, their needs and recommendations, foster a culture and environment of trust and confidence and treat them as part of our family. We in still a non-traditional way of doing and getting things done in a fast and efficient way.


2. The F&B market is very busy with both foreign and local brands expanding, what do you think will make Hukad sa Golden Cowrie successful in Metro Manila?

Golden Cowrie has proven its success in the Visayas and Mindanao. I’m confident that with the dishes and experience we offer combined with excellent customer service, we can be successful in Manila as well. What we offer is something close to the hearts of all the Filipinos.

We have studied the market and in order to be competitive, we are looking at adjusting the menu offerings a bit and developing a marketing strategy that would best target the clientele we are eyeing in Manila. A plus factor for us is having franchisees that share the same set of values and principles that we have.


3. You started your franchise expansion in the Visayas & Mindanao, why did you wait until 2016 to expand into Metro Manila?

There is wisdom in increasing one’s fence and sphere of influence slowly but surely. In our case, it took us some time to position Hukad sa Golden Cowrie, Golden Cowrie’s mall-based restaurant, in strategic locations around the Visayas and Mindanao. We learned a lot from the experiences of franchising the business. With the right locations, this year, 2016, is the right time to penetrate the untapped areas of Luzon.

4. We’ve been seeing more and more brands from Cebu and other regions expand through franchising, what are some pieces of advice you can give to entrepreneurs from Visayas & Mindanao who want to expand through franchising?

Choose business partners that share the same set of values, principles and goals with the company. Be the right fit for one another. This way, conflicts that hinder growth can be avoided and both parties can work together and focus on expanding the business.


5. You developed and grew the brand in Cebu, what do you think sets the Cebuano customer& market apart and how will this help as you expand?

Each dish has a story to tell. Golden Cowrie started with a simple menu in a charming, breezy eatery made of bamboo and sawali, which are woven split bamboo mats and has evolved into what it is today, 33 years after. Our brand is not just your typical Filipino restaurant. It is reminiscent of Filipino celebrations where family and friends come together to share festive moments. Ask a typical Cebuano where he celebrates birthdays, reunions or any special occasion, or even where to take a balikbayan or a non-Cebuano friend and the answer is always Golden Cowrie. More than a brand it is a restaurant they have grown up with and through the years, and after so many special occasions celebrated with us, our customers, who span many generations, still continue to come back.



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