Married couple and business partners Eric and Emelda Teng of The P99 Store and Ricky and Bubu Andres of Candy Corner agree that looking for the right franchisee is like looking for a lifetime partner -- or at least a partner for the next four to five years, the usual length of a franchise agreement.
Eric admits he was at first reluctant to expand his business through franchising even with the prospect of raking in more money. The Tengs started The P99 Store in 1993 but went into franchising only in 2001. "It took us quite a while to decide on franchising because The P99 Store is our business and it was difficult to share it with other people. But it had to happen because that was the best way to grow the business," he says. They now have eight, and the number is expected to increase.
Aside from commitment, these franchise owners look for character compatibility or shared values. Ricky says franchise applicants need to comply with quantifiable, document-based requirements (letter of intent, an application form that includes a comprehensive resume of the franchise applicant, financial statements, and site map for the potential franchise site). But he and his wife put more value on the potential franchisees\\\' qualities that show their character and attitude, and whether they will get along well with them in the long run.
Candy Corner is the first retail outlet in the Philippines to combine the pick-and-mix concept with the traditional packaged and novelty confectionery. From its inception in 1996, Candy Corner now has 60 branches all over the country, of which 20 are franchised. The Andreses may have only started franchising in 2001 but they\\\'re trying other concepts like Nuts and Candy and Food to Go, a coffee shop that\\\'s also a candy shop. But they\\\'re still on the lookout for Candy Corner franchisees in the provinces.
How do the Andreses screen their applicants after all the documents have been submitted? Through a third-party investigator that does a full background check on the applicants\\\' history--whether the potential franchisee has been a responsible student or an employee.
As in any relationship, money is not the end-all and be-all of their working together. Ricky says they have granted franchises to those who are short on capital but long on commitment. In short, he says,"You really have to want the business in order to get it."
The Tengs agree that while a financially capable applicant is admirable, having money is not the primary requirement in acquiring The P99 Store franchise, which cost around P1 million. "If you were going into franchising because you want to earn quickly, this is not for you. You should be able to weather any kind of storm," Eric says.