Retirement Guide: Invest in a Franchise Business

Franchising remains one of the best business options amid the global economic slowdown.  Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya has noted that franchising is a sure and secure way to a successful business due to the availability of technology, formula, and the process, giving the entrepreneur an advantage since “he or she will not necessarily start from scratch.”

Filipino franchisers are making their presence felt in the international business scene, expanding their customer base across the continents to the rest of Asia, in the United States, in Europe, and in Africa. Filipino brands continue to create waves in the international franchise arena, proving that the local franchise industry is fast becoming one of the country’s biggest dollar earners.

In a report by, businesses which were listed as successfully entering overseas markets with their uniquely Pinoy brands were home-made Filipino food brands: Potato Corner, Sweet Corner, Aquabest, Figaro Coffee Company, Julie’s Bakeshop, and non-food service brand Lay Bare Waxing.

Even the longest-running noontime TV program “Eat Bulaga! is franchised and can now be viewed in Indonesia. This is the first Philippine variety show to be franchised by another country.

Potato Corner which is dubbed as the home of the original flavored French fries in the country opened its first international outlet in Indonesia in 2006 and has since expanded into 57 outlets. Today it has 31 outlets across the United States, can also be found in Malaysia, Thailand Australia and Panama. Next in line for the potato company are outlets to open in Canada, Singapore, Russia, Botswana and Mexico. As I was writing this article, I saw a colleague in Facebook gleefully posting a message that Potato Corner is now opening its brand in Panama City!

The Sweet Corner food cart can now be seen in Australia and will soon open outlets in the Middle East.

Figaro Coffee Company now serves coffee lovers in China, Saudi Arabia, Papua New Guinea and Malaysia with its flavored coffee beans. Figaro currently has 7 stores overseas: two in Malaysia, two in China, two in Papua New Guinea and one in Saudi Arabia. There’s a deal that would allow the Figaro Coffee Company to expand its presence in the Gulf Cooperation countries and establish up to 40 stores in countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman over the next 10 years.

Cebu’s pride, Julie’s Bakeshop, famous for its fresh baked breads and is  known as the largest bakeshop chain in the Philippines with close to 500 bakeshops, has opened in Jakarta and Canada and their bread baked fresh everyday will soon be enjoyed in Abu Dhabi.


Franchising is a contractual relationship. The Franchisor and the Franchisee each make commitments and agree to operate under certain constraints. These commitments and constraints constitute the structure of a franchise relationship.  There are a number of elements in the structure of a franchise relationship that are critical to its effectiveness as the foundation for an expanding franchise network.  What’s more important is to look at different options that are in keeping with what your strengths and interests are.

Given that it will be a long-term partnership, go for a brand that you believe in and has a product or service that you know will work in your area, says Vic Perea founder and CEO of Mr. Softy Ice Cream Inc in a speech he delivered recently during Mr. Softy’s Franchise conference in Astoria Hotel in Ortigas Center.

Mr. Softy is gearing for an aggressive expansion campaign by targeting a total of 500 stores in 2020. At a franchise fee of P500,000, it is eyeing the lucrative Fil Am market especially those planning to retire in the Philippines in the next 3 to 5 years. Currently Mr. Softy has close to 90 stores with half of these stores owned by newly minted entrepreneurs cum Franchisees.


With a regional franchise, you are bringing a Pinoy brand into the international spotlight.   You become a source of pride for the country.  And you do not even have to invest a significant amount.  Some Filipino Franchise brands are very affordable and can range from $10,000 to $150,000

Another bright option is for you to use your retirement funds. This has become one of the most popular ways over the last few years to finance franchises.  There are specialized financial companies that will set up the ability for you to invest your retirement funds into your business. This can be a very attractive way to go if you feel that your business will grow in value and succeed.


Furthermore, the Philippines is a destination filled with natural wonders, a vibrant culture and ample opportunities to enjoy life plus a relatively low-cost living coupled with affordable medical care and housing options. So retiring in your home province with a franchise business becomes all the more appealing!

I am always asked the same question by those who would still opt to stay in the US. Would a US based Fil-Am retiree still get to enjoy the benefits of being an entrepreneur? My answer is a resounding yes! In the event that you chose to stay or retire in North America or you are still working but you want to take advantage of the opportunity to establish your franchise business already, there are solutions to your concerns.

To prepare your transition from employment to entrepreneurship, there are franchise management firms in the Philippines who will help you set up and manage your venture.  These service providers will train you as well as your appointed manager in the Philippines. The relationship is purely arms length with regular disclosure protocols.

In the near future, when you are confident and ready to take over the operations of the franchise business, the management firm will prepare a turnover plan so your shift in operations will be seamless. The rationale and the objective of having a professional third party franchise management provider is to avoid a common scenario where a Balikbayan buys a franchise and then fall into the trap of having relatives and friends mismanage operations.

The ultimate goal is for the Balikbayan franchisee to work as much or as little as he or she wants with a secure income!

Professor Enrique Soriano

Professor Enrique M. Soriano is the Chair and Professor of Global Marketing at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business. He has held key positions in a number of Asia – based corporations such as Group CEO of the Belo Medical Group, CEO of Intelligent Skin Care, Inc., Chairman of publicly listed Empire East Suntrust Developers, and Country President and CEO of Singapore based Electronic Realty Associates, Inc.

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