MANILA, Philippines — When it comes to snacks, very few come close to the satisfying comfort brought by a cup of crispy fries that’s served hot and flavored to absolute perfection. Potato Corner has perfected the art of making delectable flavored French fries, making it the leading brand in the snack food industry for more than 26 years now.
In an interview with The STAR, Potato Corner president and chief executive officer Jose Magsaysay Jr. talks about the brand’s humble beginnings and how it discovered a winning formula that catapulted the company to what it is now.
It was in 1992 when Magsaysay and four other partners opened the first Potato Corner kiosk at SM Megamall. He was still working for a fast-food brand at that time, but was looking for a side business for extra income. His brother-in-law had a flavored popcorn company that did so well and this sparked an idea to put flavored powder on French fries as well. “When they invited me to be a partner, I did not hesitate and joined right away. I just looked for a way to get the money needed for the capital. It was both a risk and a blessing because I was still working for a different company but in a span of 30 days, Potato Corner earned a lot and we were really surprised,” Magsaysay says.
Lacking enough capital to open stores in bigger spaces, the business partners were eventually approached by interested parties and offered a franchise agreement.
The decision to adopt a franchising model was the one big break that Potato Corner needed to gain a dominant foothold in the food cart business.
“Having no money to expand on our own, we gave out our first franchise that opened in January the following year. We finally decided to go into franchising to earn the much-needed capital, which allowed us to dominate the market. We’re lucky that the Philippines is the ‘franchise hub of Asia.’ This gives our company the freedom to be as creative as possible. We always encourage our franchisees to think outside the box and create ways to further improve the company,” Magsaysay says.
Shaking up the Pinoy snack scene
Not all food businesses are able to walk the path to success. Starting a business venture is not easy. And even the most amazing ideas run the risk of losing steam and becoming unsustainable in the long term without a proper support system and empowered people to run it.
“We have flavored fries that make kids and kids at heart feel good and flavors you can choose from. It’s that crispy, freshly cooked fries, dusted in good tasting flavored power that our customers love. From there, we focus on it, we look through it and then we further expand the things we can do with the product. Our exceptional team of employees, franchisees, partners and suppliers are incredibly focused on achieving the goal of serving the public with our flavored fries. Our people are our most important assets because of their passion in making Potato Corner a successful brand,” Magsaysay says.
Pinoy flavored fries go global
From a single kiosk at SM Megamall, Potato Corner has successfully established itself as one of the most easily recognizable snack here and abroad, powered by a strong network of over 1,100 branches worldwide.
“Potato Corner is now in Singapore, Hong Kong, USA, Panama, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. We just opened our first branch in Singapore and the company is looking at expanding to more countries. Our franchisees in international branches were our customers before when they were in their teens- many even younger. These are the people who grew up with our brand and are loyal to it,” Magsaysay proudly shares.
“The common misconception that people have in the food industry is that; if you want to grow and prosper, you have to continuously change things up and be innovative. You don’t have to constantly implement change — you just have to be original. Other industries may need to constantly innovate, but that’s not the case with food. When people learn to love your product because of how it already is, you should take advantage of that and stop overthinking,” he says.
*this post is copied and originally published by The Philippine Star, on August 13, 2018 and is also available at https://www.philstar.com/business/business-as-usual/2018/08/13/1841963/pinoy-snack-favorite-takes-world#vikals0X9uvroeod.99