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Moving to the big city: Learn from Bob\\\'s Restaurant\\\'s experience

Read this before you take a leap
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Several businesses that originated from the province are on their way to conquer the metro. One of these is 46-year old, Bacolod-born Bob\\\'s Restaurant founded by Dr. Homero Sicangco in 1965.

While being a hit in their hometown throughout the years, the idea of Manila being a different market scared the Sicangco family. "It took us five years before we finally decided to take Bob’s to Manila," says Christine Sicango-Gonzaga, one of Bob\\\'s second-generation owners.

The Siangcos took the challenge with a wary but hopeful mindset. "We have already saturated Bacolod. We cannot expand there anymore," says Catherine

The next best thing to do was to hire a consultant. Initially, the family thought franchising might be the way for them to expand in Manila. However, they decided to stick to developing company-owned branches in the capital first. The first, and so far only, Bob\\\'s in the big city is located at the Paseo de Magallanes in Makati City.

"Before opening it up for franchising, we wanted to make sure that the brand would work first. We already have our franchising manuals but we have to be sure about the brand since we would be answerable to them (potential franchisees) and we\\\'re not yet ready. Everything has to be perfect or at least kabisado (systematic)," says Catherine.

The company faced many challenges with their expansion in Manila. The matter of logistics was the main test. "We still ship most of our raw products from Bacolod. But we have to change that, which is why we need to open another branch so that the commissary here could be maximized. It\\\'s really expensive to keep on shipping," she shares.

Another challenge was finding the right people for their staff. "We got people from Manila and trained them in Bacolod, but it didn\\\'t work. We had to find new set of people."

The family looks at all these challenges as opportunities to refine their processes in Manila.

Bob\\\'s Restaurant serves Filipino and American cuisine in a casual and relaxed atmosphere, with dishes priced between P200 to P500.

Original text by: Lalah Varias-Salamat


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