MANILA, Philippines — As a franchisor and now the new chairman of the country’s only internationally recognized franchise association, Richard Victoria Sanz has virtually studied every nook and cranny of the franchise industry, including its challenges, opportunities and vast potentials as an engine of economic growth and inclusivity.
This is also largely due to his entrepreneurial spirit, keen interest for details and desire to help others grow – the same traits readily noticed even by the industry’s veterans and pillars, making him an easy pick to lead the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA) for two years.
And from the wisdom he gained as an entrepreneur and captain of the industry, Sanz knows that the primary key to success in the franchising arena is sustainability.
“This is why we also want Filipinos to develop an educational mindset to stay long in the business. They have to be different,” he stressed.
PFA as enabler
This is where the programs of the PFA, especially the annual Franchise Asia Philippines (FAPHL), come in, Sanz noted. The FAPHL is now globally renowned for its long tradition of success – earning it the distinction of being the grandest and largest in Asia.
The PFA managed to impress upon Filipino entrepreneurs the value of constant learning, retooling and market intelligence to thrive in the competitive and ever-changing franchising landscape, Sanz pointed out.
The FAPHL has four major components – the Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) Program, International Franchise Expo, International Franchise Expo and Educational Sessions and Seminars – all meant to make the business of franchisors and their franchisees sustainable, Sanz said.
“Based on the attendance of the FAPHL 2019, many Filipinos are now realizing the importance of franchising as a vehicle for economic growth. It shows that franchising is an economic driver and a major contributor to the economy,” Sanz said.
Even the PFA continues to see growth in its membership, with the past two years under Sanz leadership showing a considerable jump in the number of affiliated companies.
From 224 members in 2017, the PFA’s roster grew to 231 in 2018 and then to 265 in 2019.
The rise of Bibingkinitan
Sanz, himself, is a testament to the power of franchising to uplift lives, generate employment and drive economic growth.
“Personally, my family was not well off. But I was blessed, and with the right time and opportunity, I was able to put up the Bibingkinitan business through perseverance and discipline. There were lots of mistakes along the way and challenges that will make you think of quitting,” he continued.
Despite the many career opportunities coming his way then, Sanz took the risk when he was 23. At that young age, he gave up his job in a multinational firm to pursue his dream of becoming an entrepreneur. He is an engineer by profession but he decided to take a totally different path.
With a capital of P120,000, Sanz opened Tea Square, a small beverage kiosk in Alabang Town Center in 2004. The business sold variety of natural iced tea, milk tea and bread snacks.
Now, for just P30, customers can experience the original yummy taste of bibingka with the twists introduced by Sanz’s team. Bibingkinitan also offers its version of a combo snack—BibiKape (a piece of small bibingka served with a cup of strong brewed kapeng barako or Batangas coffee). Bibingka from macaroon (mixed with sweetened coconut strips), pastillas (blended with caramelized sugar and milk), ube (garnished with heaps of water yam jam), and crunchy peanut butter (loaded with crunchy peanut).
However, the engineering graduate from De La Salle University thought he needed to expand his business. He sought consensus from his family on the idea of expanding his business and later came up with a plan to sell bibingka (native rice cake) in a smaller form. So in 2006, Bibingkinitan was established. Already with a cute-sounding name, Sanz and his team then made it sure the quality of the product – made from 100 percent rice flour locally known as galapong – would be the best in its class.
Like mother like son
Sanz, president and CEO of FoodAsia Corp., said he learned and developed his penchant for hard work and perseverance from his mother Betty who single-handedly raised him and his only brother Billy. He recalls the many nights when he saw his mother finishing one sewing project after another using their old sewing machine, to support them.
His mother’s hard work has inspired him to persevere in life and do his best in his studies. As a young student, he stayed focused on his studies and related activities, guided by the constant reminder from elders that “an idle mind is the playground of the devil.”
The hardships of his mother and the simple life they lived when he was young taught him the value of hard work and frugality with the blessings that come their way. And these values inspired Rich to come up with unique concepts like Bibingkinitan!, noting that regular bibingkas are often not all consumed and part of them simply go to waste.
The concept proved successful, and Sanz, a hands-on Dad to his four charming kids – Kyla, Kimy, Carinne and Enrique – is reaping the fruits of his creativity and hard work.
Sanz invites all businessmen and potential entrepreneurs to join in the Franchise Asia Philippines (FAPHL) 2020 Conference and Expo slated on March 25 – 29 at the SMX Convention Center – Manila. Franchise Asia Philippines 2020, billed as Asia’s biggest four-in-one franchise show, will be presented with two themes, “Franchising on Fire” for the Conference and “Be the Boss” for the Expo. The week-long event will open with the Certified Franchise Executive Program from March 23-24, International Conference from March 25-26, International Expo from March 27-29, and Learning and Networking Sessions for prospective franchisors and franchisees.