The protein richness of the no-scale, de-boned grilled bangus (milk fish) served by Pixie’s Sinugba Inc. reflects its interesting story, which started even before it began grilling 10 pieces of the national fish in its first outlet at the Moriones district in Tondo, Manila in 2003.
“My sister Pixie, a member of the national women’s basketball team, came home one day and told my parents that the team was having problems with their diet,” recalls Jose Ma. Rey Valencia, the company’s chief operating officer. “She said they needed something that was high in protein, but low in fat, carbohydrates and sodium.” [See opportunities in the health and beauty sector here]
To help out the team, the Valencia family, which owned fish farms in several provinces including Iloilo, Samar, General Santos, Davao and Pangasinan, volunteered to cook for them a special grilled bangus recipe, which the team later adopted to become part of its eating regimen. [Learn how to make fish burger here]
It was also during this time that the Valencia family set up a small takeout outlet, aptly named Pixie’s, in their neighborhood.
In three months’ time, from an initial 10 pieces, they were able to sell 250 pieces of the grilled fish. Sinugba means grilled in the Ilongo and Visayan languages.
As demand increased, the family expanded the business and decided to establish a full dine-in store on Mindanao Avenue in Tandang Sora, Quezon City also in 2003.
Valencia says: “Following our first store, we began to receive suggestions to add other viands in our menu, aside from milk fish. So we added pansit, vegetables and other personal family favorites like liempo, dinuguan and sizzling crab meat.”
In time, franchising inquiries from frequent customers and big investors flooded Valencia’s e-mail, prompting the family to sit down and consider expanding the business. In 2007, the company was organized into a corporation called Pixie’s Sinugba Inc. Rey was then appointed as Pixie’s franchising director. [See if your business is ready for franchising here]
He admits, “As a person who trained in nursing, I really don’t have the fundamentals of expanding the business via the franchise route.”
Challenged by the huge task assigned to him by his family, whose other members were preoccupied by other family ventures, Valencia began to do his homework and took part in several franchising seminars. In one of these seminars, he met executives of Francorp, a franchise development and consulting company. [See three qualities of an ideal franchisee here]
He also says he made it a point to craft every detail of Pixie’s franchising scheme and mechanics himself.
According to Valencia, the estimated investment for a take-out setup is P700,000; its outlet should measure 20 sq m, and must be built on a roadside location. The takeout franchise expires after five years.
On the other hand, a dinestore franchise requires a P2.8-million investment, and lasts for 10 years. At present, franchising of Pixie’s is available in the provinces of Baguio, Cebu, Davao, Cagayan De Oro, Bacolod, Iloilo, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Tagaytay, Bulacan and Pampanga.
“We now have 14 company-owned branches and 48 franchised outlets,” says Valencia, adding that quite a number of stores are owned by celebrities.
Asked how many branches more would be added by yearend, Valencia says: “We don’t set a target number or limit.”
He says that at present, their rule of thumb in granting franchise licenses is the willingness on the part of potential franchisees to follow Pixie’s standards.
“We have had to turn down some applicants because they refused to agree to our terms and conditions.”
The company recently introduced meal options for their customers, which range from lower C to A classes. Its most affordable meal costs P60. To attract customers even during the early part of the day, Pixie’s has also started to serve breakfast meals.
“Even if I don’t have a business background, I was able to grow a company built around one of my family’s food favorites,” Rey says.
PIXIE’S SINUGBA INC.
No. 3 Road 1 Pag-asa, Quezon City
(02) 456-4645; (02) 920-8357; pixies.sinugba@