With more affordable prices and lower cost of entry, it’s hardly surprising that lechon manok or roasted chicken stalls can be found in most street corners in densely populated neighborhoods in Metro Manila and nearby areas.
For Php250 or less, one can take home a whole roasted chicken. That’s almost half the Php400 cost of buying around six to eight pieces of fried chicken from any of the leading fast-food chains in the country. The cost of putting up a lechon manok stall is also considerably less compared to setting up an outlet of a fast-food chain.
Amid the proliferation of more than a thousand lechon manok rotisseries in Metro Manila and other parts of the country, two brands have emerged as sturdy industry pioneers that managed not only to survive but also to thrive amidst the boom and bust that marked the history of the industry. These are Andok’s Litson Corp. and Baliwag Lechon Manok Inc. Both were founded in 1985, the year when the consumer craze for lechon manok began. Interestingly, both started in Quezon City with just borrowed capital.
Though both started at the same time, Andok’s clearly outgrew Baliwag Lechon in the next two decades. By 2011, Andok’s revenue had soared to Php561.2 million, or 3.7 times that of Baliwag Lechon’s Php151.7 million. Similarly, Andok’s net income had risen to Php6.5 million, which was 21 times that of Baliwag Lechon’s profits of only Php309,590.
No surprise there as Andok’s has been expanding more aggressively than Baliwag Lechon. The company now has 389 stores nationwide, around 60 of which are dine-in branches, according to its website as of October 6, 2017. It has also expanded to the Visayas region. In contrast, Baliwag Lechon has only 188 take out stores, mostly in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces and 30 dine-in outlets and restaurants, based on its website accessed on the same date.
However, Baliwag Lechon is fast catching up in the past four years. The company’s revenues have grown by an average of 46.4 percent from 2012 to 2015, more than four times faster than Andok’s revenues, which rose by an average of only 9.6 percent annually over the same period. In 2011, Andok’s revenues were 3.7 times that of Baliwag Lechon’s in 2011. That multiple has gone down to only 1.6 times in 2015.
It’s still possible that the gap will widen again as Andok’s revenues grew 19.3 percent to Php804.5 million in 2015 while Baliwag Lechon’s revenues rose only 3.7 percent to Php511 million that year.
To be sure, the two lechon manok pioneers were already overtaken several years ago by Chooks To Go, the roast chicken brand of Bounty Fresh Agro Ventures Inc., one of the country’s biggest suppliers of poultry products to hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and public markets nationwide. Chooks To Go, which claims to have more than a thousand stores all over the country, is said to account for a little more than half of Bounty Fresh’s revenues of about Php10 billion, which implies sales of Php5 billion. That is almost four times the two lechon manok pioneers’ combined revenues.
Elyssa Christine Lopez is a staff writer of Entrepreneur PH. Follow her on Twitter @elyssalopz