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Pinoy Abroad

Franchise opportunities abound in PHL for OFWs

One of the country's successful entrepreneurs, Rommel Juan, owner of the Binalot Chain of restaurants, has an advice for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs): take advantage of franchise opportunities in the Philippines. "Franchising is a good option for OFWs so that they are sure that they are investing their hard earned money on a working and proven business concept," Juan said in an email to GMA News Online. "Franchises have a higher percentage of success than start-up concepts. This is because there is already a fixed system, the brand is established and expertise already exists. Franchising is working for yourself but not by yourself," he added. Juan was a former president of the Association of Filipino Franchisers, Inc. (AFFI), a non-stock, non-profit national organization of Filipino entrepreneurs and business professionals, duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. According to its website, it "was formed in 1997 by a pioneering group of men and women who recognized the potential for business expansion through franchising." Juan said, "I was very active (with AFFI) for about 8 years the last 2 years of which I served as President. My term ended in 2009. But I still support their advocacy to promote SME Entrepreneurs and franchising." Varied franchise packages Juan said a wide variety of franchise opportunities is available for OFWs. Juan said, "There are many franchise opportunities for OFWs. AFFI has packages for almost all budgets starting from P300,000 to P2 million to P5 million," from carts to stalls to full set up dine in restaurants. They also have a lot of non-food concepts." "Food has always been the best bet for franchising. At the end of the day the profitability of the franchise is not dictated by solely by the brand name or the type of industry," he explained. Through franchising, the money earned by the OFWs abroad can grow instead of becoming depleted. "Sometimes sad to say, OFWs tend to send money to relatives and the money goes to waste. The relatives do not work and squander the money once it arrives. The OFW slaves overseas but once he returns, there is no money, no investment to speak of," Juan said. "If the OFW decides to get a a franchise , at least he is investing in a running business which has a potential to grow and prosper," he added. Juan warned, though, that no one can be 100 percent sure that they will be successful when they go into franchising. "Of course it's still a business and success is never 100%, especially now that the market is flooded by many other concepts. However, if they find a good location and train the right people, the success rate is so much higher," he said. Managing the franchise Being abroad, OFWs cannot look after their franchise investments and would sometimes have to ask for a relative's help in managing the franchise. "Sometimes the OFW requires a relative to manage the franchise, at Binalot we have nothing against this. However we have to make sure that the relative has the commitment, dedication, drive and competence to do so," Juan said. "We have had some experiences that the relative found it irritating that now they have to work instead of just recieving the money from abroad like before," he said. To solve this problem, some companies like Binalot offer "company supervision" schemes where the head office supervises the store for the OFW franchisee. "We just give monthly reports and the franchisee no longer has to worry about day to day operations. The Binalot head office takes care of that," Juan said. Popular franchises When asked what he thought the top five franchises were that are under P500,000, Juan said, "My top of mind would be Lotsa Pizza, Plato wraps, Bibingkinitan, Peanut world, Chicharific and RBX rice in a box (not in any particular order)." For franchises that are between P500,001 to above P1 million, "My top of mind would be Binalot, Aquabest, Royal Carribean Jamaican Patties, Gotoking and Seaoil." For those who may be interested, a wealth of information is available on the web. People can do research on companies they are interested in. Juan advises OFWs, "Choose your franchise well. Do your homework. Interview existing franchisees to find out if the are really profitable, check out their existing stores to see if they have happy customers. Consider having the franchisor manage the franchise store for you if you cannot handle it yourself." - Jesse Edep, Veronica Pulumbarit, GMA News