The Philippine Star

Franchise talk with Bistro group president Jean Paul Manuud


After two decades, the Bistro Group made an indelible mark on the local restaurant industry, operating 17 concepts with over 70 branches nationwide and expanding the Bistro brand at an impressive pace by bringing in franchises of internatio­nal brands to the country.

The Bistro Group’s president and COO Jean Paul Manuud believes the time is ripe for the company to delve into franchisin­g once again — only this time, as a franchisor — and accelerate the growth of its brands while at the same time reaching untapped markets. The company is offering opportunit­ies to franchise its five concepts: Bulgogi Brothers, Denny’s, Baker & Cook, Ka Tunying’s Café and Fish & Co.

“We are known for a being a ‘quality experience restaurant,’” said Manuud. “With the empirical knowhow we have as a franchisee for the last 23 years and the kind of organizati­on we have, we know we can support our partners/future franchisee­s.”

But while many people may be interested in buying a franchise, Manuud cautions that not everyone who has the capital is cut out for this kind of business. For the partnershi­p to work out, while potential candidates don’t necessaril­y have to come from the food business, an inherent love for the brand is a must.

“We are looking for partners with similar interests, experience and the same kind of passion,” he said. “We’re open to partners who are willing to operate, and who know the Bistro brand by heart, not just those who have the capital.”

Conversely, franchisee­s can expect The Bistro Group’s all-out support, from finding the perfect location, staff training, and setting up the interiors to marketing assistance. The company also assists with the architectu­ral/design template for the constructi­on of a store to ensure its swift completion.

Passion and motivation aside, Manuud provides some advice on areas franchisee­s should consider when looking for a company to invest in.

• A winning growth strategy. The Bistro Group adopts a two-pronged strategy to maintain steady growth: franchisin­g internatio­nal brands and building their own restaurant­s. At present, the company operates all its restaurant­s but as part of their growth model, they have ventured into growing their brand through franchisin­g.

• Solid support system. Getting into the franchisin­g game, especially if it’s your first time, can be daunting. That is why it is very important for a franchisee to receive all the support to move forward. The Bistro Group’s franchisin­g opportunit­y comes with an existing clientele/customer base for all five brands as well as leverage on staffing, training, operationa­l management and marketing efforts.

• Flexibilit­y and listening ability. Manuud said that one of the things he learned as a franchisee is to be flexible to the market because there’s no such thing as “one size fits all.” And to achieve flexibilit­y, a partner must have the ability to listen to new ideas. “This is crucial because success depends on a good relationsh­ip with your partners.”

• Adherence to standards. Too often, a lot of franchise concepts would open then close after a year. For many of these businesses, the common denominato­r has always been the operator’s lack of experience and background in operating a restaurant.

“People think that the restaurant business is easy, when in fact, it’s very difficult. A restaurant is variable every day. You’re handling people, customers… you’re handling quality of food. The quality today may be excellent, but tomorrow is a different day. So, there is a world to consider. Experience is paramount and our franchisee­s will know that they can depend on the experience of The Bistro Group. There is strength and leverage in our numbers; there’s a brand equity attached to it,” Manuud concluded.

For inquiries, send a letter of intent to Business Developmen­t, email: TBGFranchi­ or call 836-4921.

 ??  ?? Jean Paul Manuud, president and COO of The Bistro Group
Jean Paul Manuud, president and COO of The Bistro Group

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