Success Secrets: The Top 4 Philippine Franchises

There are many start-up success stories, especially in the Philippines. We dive into the top 4 Philippine food franchises and how they achieved success.


4 Key Lessons from the Top Franchises

The Philippines is a goldmine for franchise companies. With the country’s growing middle class, it’s no surprise that it’s now a hotspot for the food and business industry to expand and sell a wide variety of cuisines. As a result, over 1,500 franchise brands are currently operating in the Philippines, which has led to the country being dubbed as “the franchise development hub in Asia” by the Department of Trade and Industry. 

Even Goldman Sachs, a leading global investment banking firm, says that the Philippines is going to be part of the Next Eleven (N-11) countries poised for growth, as it’s one of the fastest-growing economies in terms of real GDP. 

With a booming franchising industry, it should come as no surprise to know that some local brands are now cashing in on international markets. For restaurant owners who hope to achieve success with their own business, there are a lot of lessons to be learned from the most iconic brands across the country.

And so, let’s look at these popular restaurant enterprises; here are the top 4 Filipino food franchises that expanded across the globe and how they did it.


1. Jollibee

Jollibee is currently the largest fast-food chain in the Philippines. It started as an ice cream parlor in 1975 and eventually added hot meals and sandwiches to the menu in response to customers’ requests. Over time, the owner, Tony Tan Caktiong, saw that Filipinos tended to order their hamburgers instead of their ice cream. So in 1978, he capitalized on this trend and converted his ice cream parlors into fast food restaurants. The rest, as they say, is history.

In 1979, Jollibee added franchising to its business model. Today, Jollibee relies significantly on franchising, with about half of its outlets being operated by independent franchisees. To maintain high standards and quality service, they look for franchisees that have self-driven entrepreneurship skills and good interpersonal skills, with an emphasis on customer service.

As their business grew throughout the years, Jollibee realized the need to protect its brand from potential competitors. So, the company invested in registering the “Jollibee” trademark in the Philippines and other key countries. Doing this increased the value of the business and heightened brand trust by consumers.

Jollibee continues to expand worldwide today, and now they have over 1,400 branches in Europe, Asia, and North America.

Key Takeaway: By monitoring and tracking your data, you’re better able to adapt and pivot your business model as needed—just like Jollibee. Using the right software solutions for your restaurant is one way to better tailor your menu to the tastebuds of your consumers.


2. Potato Corner

All over the Philippines, you’ll probably recognize their bright-green kiosk, with a grinning potato next to the now-familiar name. Back in 1992, Potato Corner started as a small kiosk before getting to where it is today. 

Since opening, Potato Corner’s inventory hasn’t changed because they found what works for them early on: customer-driven process design. A customer-driven process puts customer needs at the center of their business strategy; this approach leads to continuously growing loyal consumers who always know where to find this local favorite.

Other than a solid business strategy, Potato Corner’s tremendous growth is also due to its franchising business model. As a microbusiness, the investment needed for a franchise is minimal, resulting in almost 75% of their stores being franchised. 

Their steady international expansion is due to their global fan base that has tried the product and wishes to share it with people in their communities. Today, Potato Corner has over 1,100 stores in the Philippines and operates in more than 100 countries, including New York, Hong Kong, and Sydney.

Key Takeaway: Joe Magsaysay, the owner of Potato Corner, believes that you don’t always have to innovate in the food industry. Instead, it’s more important to be original. Their customer-driven approach also resulted in making their business more profitable. One example is localizing their flavored powders, such as offering wasabi-flavored fries in Hong Kong and cinnamon-flavored fries in America.


3. Max’s Restaurant

Max’s Restaurant started in 1945, catering to American troops stationed in Quezon City after World War II. The troops chose the restaurant for its mouth-watering chicken, sizzling steak, and creamy milkshakes. Soon, even locals started enjoying their food.

The main item that consumers love is their “sarap to the bones” fried chicken. But, more than their food, loyal customers frequent Max’s restaurant due to its wholesome and cozy ambiance. As they added more Filipino dishes to the menu over time, their popularity only continued to grow. 

In 1998, Max’s even opened its doors to franchising. Their brand puts a high premium on family and a sense of belongingness, which is why all their franchisees are treated like family. Its franchise support is offered as part of their total-solutions package to help newbies successfully plan, develop, and implement their restaurant franchises with confidence that they’ll always be in good hands at Max’s.

As a result, in 2020, Max’s has opened 140 branches in the Philippines and 15 other locations across the globe, including Canada.

Key Takeaway: Knowing customer dynamics is a fundamental piece of the puzzle when building a popular franchise. If you have a family-oriented atmosphere, then you know how to adjust your seating and your coupons just for them. When you find the right demographics and cater to what they want, you’ll create lifelong fans who spread the word about your brand. 


4. Yellow Cab Pizza 

Yellow Cab Pizza opened in 2001, serving New York-style pizzas in casual dining environments in the Philippines. Their distinct exposed industrial ceilings, New York-inspired themes, and Vespa-riding delivery boys made the brand appealing to consumers. Based on appearance, most Filipinos would think Yellow Cab pizza is an international brand—but they’re actually 100% local.

Consumers keep coming back to their restaurant because their pizza is always full of fresh ingredients. Another key difference? Yellow Cab Pizza was the first pizza chain to open its stores 24/7. Over time, they have changed their branding from a high-end hangout for special occasions to a restaurant for your everyday celebrations.

Through franchising, Yellow Cab Pizza was able to open its doors and serve its famous pizzas in countries like Malaysia, Qatar, and the USA. In the Philippines, there are now over 130 stores operating nationwide. 

Key Takeaway: Standing out from your competitors with quality ingredients and a different operating hours can go a long way. Ambience is yet another way to really pop in a competitive market like the food and beverage industry. If you’re like Yellow Cab Pizza, be sure to down your theme and create an iconic restaurant experience so they’ll come back for more.


From local to international 

Filipino-owned brands have continuously expanded their brands from local to international markets with groundbreaking success. Thanks to their effective business models, they were able to create popular meals and drinks that appeal to all kinds of customers.

And if you’re running a restaurant business, it’s important to learn from the biggest ones in the game. Their different tactics might not work for your business, but you can still apply some of this knowledge to your own restaurant’s model. Doing things like tracking your target customer’s spending trends gives you the reasons why they become loyal customers.

Partnering with companies that provide profit restaurant optimization solutions, such as Mosaic, can help you identify how well your menu entices your customers. By identifying which of your dishes are more profitable, you can focus on them and cut back on items that don’t do so well. Downsizing your menu can also translate to more efficiency and more profit, compared to having a large menu. A limited menu also hastens kitchen service and simplifies complexity.

Mosaic Solutions offers innovative solutions by empowering you to create data-driven decisions through predictive analytics that can help improve your sales, eventually leading you to expand your business from the local to the international market.

Ready to expand your business? Contact us now for a free consultation!