The Bistro Group is targeting to roll out as much as 80 new stores by the end of this quarter as part of its ongoing expansion program.
Jean Paul Manuud, President and COO, revealed this expansion program after the restaurant operator ended 2017 on a high note, which saw the opening of more branches in December.
The group opened Bulgogi Brothers in Evia Lifestyle Center; TGI Fridays in Southwoods; Denny’s in Eastwood; and TGIFridays in Cebu; as well as recent news on The Bistro Group foray into sub- franchising of five of its concepts namely, Bulgogi Brothers, Denny’s, Baker & Cook, Ka Tunying’s Café and Fish & Co.
According to Manuud, the company rolls into 2018 with the same success and upbeat mood, setting its sights on more locations and more branches in Metro Manila and key cities in the country.
Already in the pipeline in the first quarter alone are the store openings of Denny’s in Cebu and NAIA Terminal 1 and Fish & Co. in Uptown Mall BGC and Venice Grand Canal in McKinley Hill with the target of reaching 80 stores by March 2018.
The Bistro Group also recently acquired four franchises of a local brand, Hukad sa Golden Cowrie. The first franchised store under Bistro opened last January 8, at McKinley Hill. Hukad is a Cebu-based restaurant famous in the South for its homestyle Filipino and Cebuano fare. Another branch is set to open at Southwoods Mall in Biñan, Laguna first quarter of this year.
“Patrons of Bistro restaurants can also look forward to more exciting dining options,” added Manuud.
Conceived by Executive Corporate Chef Josh Boutwood in collaboration with The Bistro Group are two homegrown concepts namely Savage which will open its doors in February, and Helm that is expected to open this March. Both will be located at Arya Residences in BGC, Taguig City.
The food at Savage is deeply rooted in the pre-industrial era using two main cooking fuels, wood and charcoal. Meat, fish and vegetables come alive with a burst of flavors using unexpected and innovative combination of ingredients. Helm, on the other hand, is a 12-seater restaurant offering a 12-course tasting menu prepared personally by Chef Boutwood.
“We are very excited and optimistic for 2018. The company continues to explore growth areas and reach untapped markets, and one of the ways to do this was to open franchising opportunities which we announced in December. We are also hoping to strengthen our position in the homegrown restaurant segment this year. We are likewise excited to be one of the franchisees of Hukad, a brand that is expected to strengthen its presence in the metropolis. We expect that 2018 will even be better than last year,” said Manuud.
The Bistro Group first forayed into the local food scene when it opened the first TGIFriday’s restaurant in the country 23 years ago. The company has since grown its portfolio to a collection of 17 international casual dining brands and homegrown concepts.
‘It is time for business and it is time to think about being an entrepreneur because we cannot just be standing idly by. We have to partake of this growth in whatever way.’
By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
At her age and stature, Alegria S. Limjoco more popularly known as “Bing,” could have just go about her leisurely pleasures, but she cannot. The call for her to pursue what she does best – helping startups – was too compelling for her to ignore.
Limjoco is the new president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the country’s largest business organization, earning her the distinction as one of only two women presidents to have run the country’s voice of business.
“My doctor told me ‘you don’t need this stress’,” says Limjoco when she consulted his physician and even his family, who resisted the idea of her leading the highest post at the PCCI.
Throwing all cautions to the air, Limjoco hit the ground running. Over the past few weeks, she requested fellow board members for inputs and guidance to develop a work plan that will build on the accomplishments of the previous leaderships. She revived the old practice of conducting a strategic planning.
“The goal was to create a plan that would outline our mission and vision for PCCI’s continued growth and sustainability and for smooth implementation of projects,” says Limjoco, who used to serve as PCCI Director.
To avoid unnecessary stress, Limjoco said she would also defer to the Board for position on certain issues of national interest.
All she wanted is continuity of the PCCI leadership. She noticed that one reason good projects do not get implemented in any organization or even in government when new leadership takes over is the lack of continuity. Every administration would like to start new and unwilling to pick on what had been started even if the past programs are really good.
Limjoco is not just concerned about continuity of project implementation, but also succession at PCCI. She would like to ensure sustainability of the organization. Thus, she vowed to cultivate and nurture new and young leaders to succeed PCCI’s leadership.
In this case, she cited her predecessor George Barcelon for the creating and leading the committee on Youth, Services and ICT. She cited the need to nurture the youth, who have great ideas on the new ways of doing business in the digital age.
“We really prepared for the next generation, who will be the next presidents. When you see qualities in them, develop them to become future leaders,” says Limjoco. She saw a number of potential leaders at PCCI.
“We can always be there as advisers, we just have to guide them and they listen to the advisers,” adds Limjoco, noting the need to listen to the wisdom of the senior leaders.
“I cannot disregard them, I like continuity,” stresses Limjoco.
For her reign, the lady leader would like to continue what her predecessor had started. Barcelon came up with GIANT Steps program with emphasis on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). That should be an opportunity for Limjoco to follow through.
Building on what Barcelon has started, Limjoco said her term would be marked by an overarching goal towards prosperity. It will take off from GIANT Steps to Prosperity. The term PROSPERITY should stand for these big words: Promoting Sustainable Entrepreneurial Resilience Industrialization and Tech-Ready Economy.
To leap into prosperity, Limjoco will highlight the development and promotion of MSMEs that Barcelon started, but still need to be pursued further as she believes that entrepreneurship is key toward inclusive growth especially for those in the countryside.
There are issues, particularly funding, for MSMEs that need to be further ironed out as she noted that government financing may not be enough and can be difficult at times.
She is looking at how the Internet can help the MSMEs break into the digital world for their small business ventures. Limjoco noted that PLDT VOYAGER alone as much as 5,000 online businesses already.
Of course, she will continue to pursue the promotion of franchising, an industry that looks up to her as their foremost mentor. Limjoco serves as chair of the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA) and at one time as CEO of Francorp Philippines, the country’s foremost developer and consultancy firm for franchising concepts.
As the mother of Philippine franchising, Limjoco was the first Filipino and first Asian to earn the Certified Franchise Executive (CFE), a mini-MBA on Franchise Management at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, USA, and at the Asian Institute of Management, both accredited by the Institute of Certified Franchise Executives (ICFE) of the US-based International Franchise Association (IFA).
Over the years, Limjoco has represented the PFA in various international franchise events including the World Franchise Council (WFC) and Asia Pacific Franchise Confederation (APFC) Meetings, as well as various international franchise shows in the US, Europe, and Asia.
But as she becomes president of PCCI, Limjoco is conscious that she cannot just be the mouthpiece of franchising, but for all other business models.
Limjoco, however, is more than willing to share what she has learned from franchising as a stepping stone for the small enterprises although she would like to emphasize that the foundation for a good business is to know about financing and how to handle it properly.
“Whatever business model you are going to use, you have to see the big picture because some when they see money coming in, they would lose focus,” she adds. Thus, she also emphasized on closely working with the MSMEs through constant follow ups.
Limjoco, who started from the Philippine Retailing Association, and on to the PFA has been mobilizing these associations to develop new entrepreneurs and discover new concepts that are now successful in the market.
She also cited a more proactive government through the Department of Trade and Industry in helping businesses, like the reduced steps in the filing of business applications and permitting from 15 steps to 3 in certain areas.
With all these goals, Limjoco seeks to strengthen the potentials of PCCI’s local chambers as catalyst for entrepreneurship in the countryside. She intends to highlight the role of the local chambers to have more active role in the PCCI’s overall network since they are the face of the organization in the provinces.
“I really would like the regional chambers to work and perform so I asked them to submit work program after planning because we have to be more proactive. If you come to me with a problem, please also come up with a solution,” adds Limjoco, who loves delegating her work to the Board members.
PCCI has 130 chapters all over the country and 119 industry association members. It has also some 2,000 direct members that together could reach a total of 35,000 members.
“This is what we want to intensify so why not work together because like the ‘walis tingting’ we can achieve more if we are together,” says Limjoco.
Already, PCCI will hold its Area Business Conference North Luzon in San Fernando, Pampanga. The choice of San Fernando is a strong pitch for the Northern Luzon businessmen to claim that their time as an economic power has finally come. They have the investors, investors and access to the northern part of Luzon.
“Most of the regions are positive,” says Limjoco. Businessmen have proposed for the creation of one stop shop center where MSMEs can file their application without having to shuttle from one government office to another.
“We should not make doing business difficult and costly for our micro and small businesses,” she adds.
Aside from its local network, PCCI can also harness its 55 business councils where they have counterpart from different countries to help discover the Philippines as a new investment destination. The PCCI Business Council committee is headed by chairman emeritus Francis Chua.
PCCI will also strengthen partnership with their 119 industry association members to help in the government’s K-12 education system.
Already, they have started with the easier track which is in the retailing sector through the Philippine Retailers Association (PRA). PRA members have been cooperating to provide the required minimum on the-job-training of 80 hours for the Grade 12 students.
“We tie-up with schools for retailing, which is simple and definitely the minimum of 80 hours exposure would be just enough, but those already in the technical vocational courses like furniture making, 80 hours of internship will not suffice,” she adds.
Thus, she would push for immersion program for new entrepreneurs. She remembered that when she was sent to the US by her father for apprenticeship at Barnes and Noble, the famous bookstore brand in the US, it was an eye opener for her. Her father saw how hard she worked over there because there was no one to run to, she has to fend for herself.
“There are things that one cannot learn from school, but the realities in life are best seen when you work with other employees, how do you see yourself there,” she adds.
PCCI will also tie up with the Department of Agriculture and Department of Science and Technology to help in the product development and packaging of products.
PCCI would ensure startups will be provided with the needed support to improve their capabilities. There will be free seminars to new entrants in business.
She vowed of equal chance for startups noting that mostly those from Metro Manila have the upper hand to be featured, but there are also successful startups in the provinces that are worthy of recognition.
“These provincial startups have not been recognized, we want to discover them so they will further bloom,” she adds.
Among the chambers, she cited the Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry led by Edward Du for their efforts to provide internet service to schools in the 4th and 5th municipalities.
In the franchising sector, Limjoco said they have been conducting free seminars to encourage those planning to enter into business to go for franchising, the fastest way to set up a business and a proven successful business model.
“We cannot do this overnight, this is not shotgun, but we can start planting the seeds now,” he adds. She particularly cited Oryspa, which has gained prominence overseas because of its authentic natural oils extracted from rice. There is also the Generics Pharmacy that bloomed to a thousand outlets. These are just a few examples of startups that made it to become big industry players.
Having been in the business and actively involved in the PCCI, PRA and the franchising sector, Limjoco was sort of groomed to someday head the country’s largest business organization. Although she did not actively campaign for the post, Limjoco was just riding with the flow.
“Honestly, no,” says Limjoco when asked if she expects to get the PCCI top post. But she noted: “They said and really saw I was able to help the micro grow and all that, and being the one who can really help PCCI to go to the bottom of the pyramid.”
Limjoco now stands as the second of only two women presidents of this mostly men-dominated organization, the first being Noemi Saludo.
“Whether I become president or not because there is also resistance from my family, I offer everything to the Lord,” she says. The only thing she was certain though was that if she gets the position, “I must really perform well.”
More importantly, she will work to ensure the sustainability of the organization. She cited how the PRA and PFA became sustainable as an organization. Similarly, she said, PFA became a force in the franchising sector not just locally but in the international scene. Before, the local industry had to beg for presence from the government as it strives for relevance during their early years.
“Now, it has ripened, we grow it and pray for it,” adds Limjoco.
Most of all, Limjoco feels the need to help PCCI because it has a mandate and a nationwide network that no other organization can claim.
“Other organizations can claim regional presence, maybe small here and there, but we are all over with grassroots presence, so there is a need to guide this network because this is potent in bringing change in the countryside. I feel I can be that someone,” she adds.
There are also some PCCI local chambers whose management needed some strengthening and to become more relevant in their own areas.
“We have to move forward, we have to work together,” she adds.
Considering this is already the peak of her career, Limjoco sees it as her time to give back.
“Really, it is for me to share whatever I’ve learned that’s all, to God be the glory because if you have it then share it with others,” she adds. The Sibal family though has long been involved in charitable works with the Phoenix Foundation, which her mother founded for relief efforts for schools and churches.
Limjoco comes from an affluent family, who owned the famous Alemars Bookstore. Although Alemars had long been gone, the family’s book publishing business Central Books is still growing. It publishes law books primarily on demand. His late father was doctor of laws.
The middle child, fifth in a brood of 9, Limjoco was never spared from the discipline of his lawyer father, who taught them the regimen and rigidity of business at an early age.
“While my classmates can sleep long hours on Saturdays, we have to wake up early to help run the store. So, I am always an early riser,” says Limjoco.
“We are trained and disciplined, not rich. Our parents worked so hard,” says Limjoco, who grew up missing their parents because they were always busy running the business. Learning from this experience, they decided to shift into the publishing of law books. They have also established Phoenix Publishing.
At this stage, Limjoco can no longer ask for more, but feels she has so much to give. In fact, her most important lesson in life is “It is really better to give than to receive, better to share.”
That is why she finds fulfillment in helping the micro and small businesses grow under her eyes. “It is something money cannot buy,” she says.
She does not look forward to retirement. For as long as she can help others grow, maybe not within PCCI or wherever, she would like to go on.
Her nurturing nature has earned her the accolade as the mother of franchising in the Philippines.
“To those that I helped grow, I was like a mother to them because wherever they are, I coach them. I am like the cheerleader, telling them you have to do this. Give them the confidence they know they have, but are afraid to show it, so somebody needs to push them,” she adds.
Acknowledged for her vast contributions in franchising and other businesses, Limjoco has been conferred numerous recognitions, including Go Negosyo’s Filipina Starpreneur in the Enterprise Enabler Category from the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship (PCE) and one of the “10 Most Influential Filipinas” by the Female Network. She has also been recognized as a Pillar of Philippine Franchising and as the Woman Icon of Franchising by the Franchise Excellence Awards (FEA). Recently, she received the International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC) Award in Redmond, Washington, USA and the Teresa’s Achievement Award in Business and Technology by her alma mater, Saint Theresa’s College of Quezon City.
Despite a seemingly noisy political scene, Limjoco was optimistic describing the local economy of growing from “good to great.”
“With the Golden Age of Infrastructure, then comes the Golden Age of Entrepreneurs,” she adds stressing that small startups will not only think of looking for a job but of creating jobs for others.
“I am gung-ho this time because the big push in infrastructure is helping a lot in creating more economic activities that is why we are running out of workers,” she adds.
Aside from domestic growth, Limjoco also sees the ASEAN region with 650 million strong consumer population as a big opportunity for Filipino businesses. “Whenever I go abroad, people start to consider you as ASEAN not Pinoy anymore because we are now one in ASEAN,” she adds.
With the economic recession in the US and Europe, she said, Asia is now the force to reckon with and at the center of Asia is ASEAN where the Philippines is the fastest growing member country.
“Since 2015, the Philippines was already in the sweet spot. You add the right economic fundamentals in place and we have an economy that is growing from good to great. We are the rising star in Asia and we are yet to maximize our potential,” she adds.
“It is time for business and it is time to think about being an entrepreneur because we cannot just be standing idly by. We have to partake of this growth in whatever way,” she adds.
Aside from her dad, she looks up to her Kumadre Tessie Sy-Coson of the SM Group for her iron fist in spearheading the transformation of the family’s business empire. On the side, Coson also leads the Asean Business Advisory Council, making Limjoco wonder how she was able to balance her life.
Limjoco has been brought up to be a good Catholic, reared by nuns in an all-girls school.
“I start the day with a prayer or mass so what I do is start the day with the Lord,” says Limjoco, who pursued this habit after finishing college at Saint Theresa’s College where students hear mass every single day of school.
Wonder what she prayed for? She prays that whatever problems that come her way that day, there is nothing she fears because she will be guided properly.
There’s this notion that when there is a branch of Jollibee in a place, it can be considered as a city. This may not be necessarily true but no one can argue that Jollibee, indeed, is an indicator of progress as it genuinely brings happiness to a place through its good food and “happy place” set-up.
This year, Dabawenyos living near Puan, Davao City have more reasons to be happy as Jollibee – Puan branch opened last January 19.
The newest store is the 27th branch of Jollibee in Davao City and 130th in Mindanao. It is open 24 hours and has a Drive Thru store.
Just like any store opening, it started with a blessing a day earlier, a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the day and a Chicken Joy toast.
The store team was also introduced to the customers.
The first-day customers were also entertained with a Jollitown Dance by the Jollibee store management team.
LanghapSarap meals were also offered to those who graced the event.
DIANA Stalder Face, Body, Skincare Center (dS) goes beyond the promise of delivering beautiful skin! It now offers a total beauty and wellness package with its products and services at an affordable price. For 21 years, dS has been providing the highest standard of skincare treatments, quality products and excellent services.The first step in prepping for make up application is taking care of your skin. With dS, they could come up with a skincare system uniquely tailored for you. To start with the basic, dS offers Facial Supreme,a 15-step signature facial treatment that cleanses, tones, firms and nourishes theface, resulting to a clear, healthier, radiant and younger-looking skin.Clients with low pain tolerance do not have to worry because they also offer Painless Facial which uses desincrustation technique for a minimal discomfort, as it helps control oil production of the skin.
You could also relax with their Casmara Algae Peel-off Mask from Spain. These are formulated with seaweed extracts that provide a powerful hydrating effect, along with diverse active ingredients which are different on every mask. It has different kinds that meet the needs of every skin type:
Reaffirming Mask to absorb oil and other skin impurities leaving your skin detoxified and moisturized;
Green Mask for red or dry skin giving a soothing effect and making your skin revitalized;
Vitamin Vegetable Mask, a Vitamin C-rich mask for any skin type and age to have fairer skin;
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Novanew Mask for dehydrated skin;
Green Tea Mask to rejuvenate and revitalize the skin;
Rgnerin Mask for delicate, post-exfoliation treatment and aged skin;
Goji Mask for all ages and dehydrated skin
C40 Bi-Phase Soya Mask for any skin types, perfectly suitable for mature skin; and
Gold Mask which has 24 karat gold dust
Better, safer, fairer
A study of Global Industry Analysts (2013) stated that skin lightening has been a trend in Asia Pacific. Thus, dS offer a shock treatment in which after just one session, you could already see a visible result which is called the Casmara Nacar Whitening Facial. It is a clarifying and lightening facial treatment for any skin type and age and it is suitable for illuminating and unifying skin color.
They also have Diamond Peel, a micro dermabrasion or a non-invasive exfoliating procedure that refreshes and renews the skin for a new vibrant glow.
Certainly, you would not want to neglect your body skin. Thus, Diana Stalder also offers Intense Body Bleaching for a convenient, non-evasive to achieve a body that is fairer and younger looking; Milk and Coffee Scrub body treatment for a smooth, glowing and tightened skin, as well as cellulite improvement; and Skin Yoga, a combination of body scrub and bleaching, for an even-colored, glowing and healthy-looking skin.
Be forever young
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Dermalift Treatment is the best seller anti-aging treatment which is a revolutionary, non-surgical technique that utilizes micro-current to stimulate the production of the skin’s natural collagen and elastin. The skin will be lifted and toned along the jawline and cheekbones, expression lines will be smoother, large pores are reduced, and lines around the mouth are less evident. Visible improvement on skin texture and brightness are noticeable on single treatment.
They also have the Casmara premium line of anti-aging treatments like the Casmara Anti-Oxidant Facial with strong antioxidant effect from Goji extract; the Casmara Botox Alternative Facial which is a regenerating treatment; the Casmara Lift And Firm Facial for dry, tired skin and generally for skin in need of repair, requiring an energy boost; the Casmara Skin Sensations (with Gold Mask) that provides all skin essentials for the proper functioning of the skin such as water, minerals, vitamins and many other; and lastly, the Casmara Stem Cell Facial which is a very powerful treatment that contains the newest active ingredients following the latest scientific technology regarding skin rejuvenation.
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Payments processing is a central component of commerce in any society. In Asia cash remains the accepted financial instrument of choice for making purchases or conducting a transaction. The downside to the convenience offered by cash is the risk it presents to both merchant and consumer in the form of theft and fraud.
The growing population of smartphone-empowered consumers has led to the rise of technology-led innovations across many aspects of society, including retail, financial services and payments. The telecom industry, itself under threat of disruption, is one industry that is poised to capitalized on the opportunity.
The Philippines’ two dominant telecommunications carriers, PLDT and Globe Telecom, are today deep in the trenches pushing their respective mobile payment solutions and strategies.
PayMaya, a joint venture between PLDT and Rocket Internet, has partnered with the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA) for the adoption of its PayMaya QR Code facility. The intent is to encourage PFA members to use the PayMaya QR Code facility for cashless and seamless transactions.
Arguably following the cashless trend that is transforming China’s economy, the PayMaya QR code solution, like GCash’s GoPay offering, gives consumers the capability to make cashless payments by simply scanning the QR code.
For the transaction to happen, users will need the equivalent mobile app from GCash or PayMaya. With PayMaya, merchants no longer need to invest in upfront equipment, such as a point-of-sale counter. This decreases the risks associated with handling cash payments.
HOMEGROWN brand Island Souvenirs is hoping to cash in on robust consumer spending this Sinulog season to make up for losses incurred in their Ayala Center Cebu branch.
“It is going to be a painful Sinulog in terms of sales. Ayala Center Cebu is one of our top-tier markets and every year, it is really an outlet that we bank on especially for Sinulog where we have a windfall in sales,” said Camille Aldeguer, executive vice-president of Islands Group.
A fire hit Metro Ayala Department Store and Supermarket from late in the evening on Jan. 5 until 4:18 p.m. on Jan. 8. Although the main Ayala Center Mall was not hit, it has yet to reopen.
The Islands Group has three branches of Islands Souvenirs inside the mall—a boutique store, a pop-up store and an outlet inside the Metro Ayala store itself.
In its Facebook post as of Saturday, the mall said: “Thorough clean-up and systems check within the main mall of Ayala Center Cebu have been completed. However, removal of the damaged portion of the Metro Department Store and Supermarket building, which is adjacent to the mall, is still ongoing.”
According to Aldeguer, Sinulog is one of their high performing months in terms of sales, but with what happened to Ayala, they expect sales to at least match last year’s figures. “Right now we are still on a positive trend. I’m pretty sure that this week we will already feel the impact of the incident versus our targets for Sinulog,” she said.
But the company remains hopeful as other malls in the city are experiencing high traffic, she noted.
Annual average growth in sales during Sinulog for Island Souvenirs is at 20 percent. Some 12,500 pieces of Sinulog shirts are sold daily in Metro Ayala during January, while in ordinary months they reportedly sell around 10,000 shirts daily.
Island Souvenirs unveiled last Friday its annual Sinulog Cut and Style 2018 at the SM City Cebu Northwing, where consumers create their own Sinulog shirt and choose their embellishments and accessories.
“This is our sixth year. We are bringing it back because personalization is very much in trend. What we change every year is the creative direction,” she said.
This year’s theme is tribal fusion, which emphasizes an Aztec print, geometric shapes, and comes with embellishments like feathers.
The company started selling Sinulog shirts since December so they’d get the feel for which designs would sell.
Just for the Sinulog season, the company hired 200 additional sellers and on-call cutters. Fifty percent of those hired as backup workers are students taking up courses in the government’s Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
Island Souvenirs has a total of 35 branches in Cebu. (KOC)
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on January 15, 2018.
Like a mother to her children, Ma. Alegria Sibal Limjoco – the new president of the largest business organization in the Philippines – aspires to nurture micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) through her advocacies and prepare them as they take on bigger challenges in the global stage.
Limjoco, known in the business circle as Bing, is not new to this task, having guided a lot of the successful franchise businesses in the country today, rightfully earning her the title ‘mother of Philippine franchising.’
A mind to lead, a heart to serve
“My motto is: a mind to lead, a heart to serve to uplift the MSME. I think it’s about time to help the MSME,” said the new president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI).
Limjoco, who is the second female to lead the PCCI, said the country’s growing economy provides a brighter prospect for the development of Filipino MSME.
“We are now more on inviting investors here, but inclusive economy is very important, because right now, we are all with the ‘big boys’. But when I come in, I want to help the small ones,” she said.
Limjoco is one of the founders of the Philippine Retailers Association (PRA), which was established in 1992, and the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA) – the country’s premier franchise organization, founded in 1995.
And the days of founding and developing these associations, particularly PFA, proved to be one of the most memorable experiences that molded Limjoco as a business leader.
Recalling the early days of the PFA, Limjoco said no one – not even the government – understood what their organization and business were all about.
“In 1995 nobody knew what franchising was. When we invited the Department of Trade and Industry, they sent somebody from the LTFRB,” she said.
“I told them we’re different. Can you imagine how we started, if you have seen our shows that time, I really have to plead for them to come,” she said.
With this experience, Limjoco notes that a lending and uplifting hand – especially from the big businesses – could pave the way forward to growth and development for Philippine MSME.
“I want to be the cheerleader – this is the time I can make my members grow, because you know, with the Duterte administration’s Build Build Build program, there’s no way but to grow, grow, grow,” she said. “We have platforms for our members to grow and I would like our members to pull the others so we can have a wider middle class. How do we have a wider middle class? By pulling the smaller ones.”
The PCCI chief said if they were able to develop the MSME in the franchise sector, then it is possible to do the same in other business segments of the country.
“I think to help the MSME is the biggest difference we can make. Actually, I really help many of these ones – they are micro if not small – and some of them are now international,” Limjoco shared. “Imagine, Potato Corner started in the garage selling french fries. They did not expect they will be able to get that much,” Limjoco said.
Limjoco has expressed deep concern in the plans of the government to liberalize the retail industry, particularly cutting down the required paid-up capital for foreign businessmen in the country from the current $2.5 million to a mere $250,000.
“I want to help the small ones. Of course, I want to voice out on how we can help them,” she says. “But let’s not cut it too much. It’s quite high and would affect a lot of MSMEs, even sari-sari stores. Would you want the likes of them to suffer?” she added.
Hard work, honesty and integrity
Limjoco knows the global market, as aside from regularly attending expositions and business missions, she was sent by her father, the late Ernesto Y. Sibal and her mother Alegria Rodriguez, to the United States in her early 20s.
She juggled between her job at an American bookstore and her part-time job in a department store while finishing her degree in interior design at the New York School of Interior Design in the 1970s.
“I was really quite busy in New York, studying from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., then working after class and selling Avon products. I worked part-time for Barnes and Noble Bookstore, and worked for Gimbel’s Department Store, too, parttime. Though my father would send me allowances, I wanted to learn as much while I was in New York,” she said. She came back to Manila when she was 23, and immediately worked in their family business, Phoenix Publishing House.
“Then I wanted to have a family. I also wanted to grow our family business. And I wanted to make a difference in life,” she said, saying she did these one step at a time, starting with the establishment of her own family and getting married to husband Angel.
The young businesswoman back then started working her way to the top. “I always looked up to my parents who created many businesses,” she said. “In my family, I always put the Lord in the center.”
Bing says the secret to her success today revolves around three basic virtues. “I always believe in hard work, honesty and integrity. These were inculcated in me by my parents,” she said. “Looking at the big picture, I always believe in simple life, and in sharing our blessings.”
“I became a business minded woman when I studied in New York. Studying overseas makes you more active, competitive and business-minded because you have to prove what you are despite the discrimination. That way, I become engaged in business and served my father in the publishing industry,” Limjoco shared.
Today, she is also the chief executive of Francorp Philippines, the company that helped a number of successful franchises in the Philippines. Brands such as Jollibee, Max’s Restaurant, Goldilocks, Potato Corner, Reyes Haircutters, Pancake House and Bench, Penshoppe, among many others, owe their success to her and business partner Philippine Franchise Association and Philippine Retailers Association chairman emeritus and Francorp chairman Samie Lim. Ready to lead
As the shepherd of Philippine business today, she is fully ready to lead the PCCI and overcome challenges that surround the Philippine economy.
Limjoco said she would focus her term as PCCI president on helping out the small players in the business community and continue the work done by her predecessors most especially PCCI president George T. Barcelon. She’s grateful for the support given her by PCCI officials and board of directors: chairman George Barcelon, honorary chairman and treasurer, and Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. president Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr., Employers Confederation of the Philippines president Donald Dee and chairman Edgardo Lacson, Jess Varela, William Co, Angelito Colona, Eric Cruz, Alberto Fenix, Jose Leviste Jr., Samie Lim, Ben Leong, Simbulan Renato, and Francis Chua.
“For me, I always look at the big picture. Our economy is good and it is on its way to be great. I have never seen the economy as robust as now, wherein we have been growing about 6 percent or 7 percent since 2015,” she said.
“I know we are in the sweet spot and there will be growth for the next 10 years. The business climate now is definitely very conducive for businesses compared before when we were just starting,” she said.
Phoenix Petroleum Philippines Inc., a company led by businessman Dennis Uy, said Thursday it completed the acquisition of the entire shares of SIAL CVS Retailers Inc., FamilyMart Co. Ltd. and Itochu Corp. in Philippine FamilyMart CVS Inc.
“A new exclusive area franchise agreement of the Family Mart branch of convenience store in the Philippines was granted to Philippine FamilyMart CVS Inc. under the management of the company,” Phoenix said in a disclosure to the stock exchange.
The Philippine Competition Commission approved the transaction on Jan. 3.
Phoenix is a publicly-listed corporation that trades petroleum products on the wholesale and retail basis and operates gas stations, oil depots, storage facilities and allied services. The ultimate parent of Phoenix is Udenna Corp.
Philippine FamilyMart is a domestic corporation engaged in the business of operating convenience stores under the trademark “Family Mart.”
Phoenix earlier said the potential acquisition of PFM would complement its retail fuel business, with 518 stations nationwide, and marked its entry into the fast-growing domestic convenience retail market. The value of the transaction was not disclosed.
The Mergers and Acquisitions Office of PCC found that the transaction would not result in substantial lessening of competition in the relevant market.
The PCC said there was no ability or incentive for the firms to engage in foreclosure after the acquisition. The antitrust commission also said there were sufficient competitive constraints from other players in the same market after the transaction.
The PCC approved Phoenix’s acquisition of the liquefied petroleum gas business of Petronas Energy Philippines Inc. last year.
SHAKEY’S Pizza Asia Ventures Inc. (Spavi), the owner of the Shakey’s Pizza brand in the Philippines and in select parts of Asia and Australia, said it will add some 20 stores in the country this year after exceeding its expansion last year.
The company said in a statement it opened a total of 24 branches last year, or four more than the 20 branches it planned to open.
Meeting the 2018 target will bring its total Philippine store network to 228 at the end of this year, the company said.
“It has been a banner year for Shakey’s—our maiden year as a publicly listed company—as this is the fastest we’ve grown in terms of store network,” Shakey’s President Vicente Gregorio was quoted in a statement as saying. “We will continue to take advantage of the positive consumer sentiment in the Philippines, and hope to open even more stores, including those outside the typical first tier cities.”
Last year Spavi opened Shakey’s Pizza stores in provincial locations, including Iligan, Puerto Princesa, Antique, Gapan and Palo, Leyte, following the growing urbanization trend in these areas.
The company has also started to roll out redesigned interiors for its newer branches, which will take the American family casual dining concept to another level.
Spavi, which has been assigned a stock name Pizza at the stock exchange, recently reported that recurring net income for the first nine months of 2017 grew by 15 percent versus the comparable period last year. System-wide sales rose by 15 percent, as well, driven by same store-sales growth of 6 percent and an expanding local store network.
Apart from the Philippines, Spavi also owns the perpetual rights to the Shakey’s brand for the Middle East, Asia (excluding Japan and Malaysia), China, Australia and Oceania.