Consistency and creativity combined are the keys to the future.
The novelist Norman Mailer once wrote, “There was that law of life, so cruel and so just, that one must grow or else pay more for remaining the same.” Entrepreneurs can confirm that this law applies to business as well.
For food kiosk pioneer Potato Corner, the willingness to innovate began with the product itself. In 1992, they opened their first outlet and introduced the country to the now-famous flavored French fries. The fries were a hit, and soon after, Potato Corner opened their business to franchising.
Of course, success in the early days does not ensure longevity. What proves to be a hit one day may become out of style the next. As Therese Gonzales, Potato Corner Master Franchisee for Cebu, puts it, “I just never thought when I did this 18 years ago—because we were just dealing with one product, which is French fries—that we would be able to last this long.”
One reason for the company’s growth is the management’s insistence on the quality and consistency of their products. “I’m a very hands-on type of person and manager. I tell my staff [that] the way of cooking, the way of serving, it has to be the right way,” says Gonzales.
More importantly, Potato Corner was able to maintain product quality while keeping themselves open to change. As one of the earliest franchisees, Gonzales attests to witnessing this openness in Potato Corner CEO Jose Magsaysay. “He would listen to whatever I would say, whether it was a positive input or a suggestion.”
Innovations like ventless frying, larger servings, and the launch of concept outlets have helped the company weather tough times and establish themselves as an industry leader.
Gonzales herself opened a concept branch in Cebu, called the Spud Diner. “It’s more potato products, like baked potato lasagna, croquettas, and potato carbonara,” she says. “So I see that being offered also, letting people know that we have more potato products other than the French fries.”
With their commitment to quality and their willingness to adapt and take risks, the future certainly looks bright for Potato Corner.
*this article was copied and originally published in BusinessMirror last March 29, 2019 and can be also found at https://businessmirror.com.ph/2019/03/29/build-a-business-that-lasts/