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From model to entrepreneur

Shifting from the glitz and glamour
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Runway and commercial model Peter Norrdell had his first taste of The White Hat frozen yogurt during a break from one of his fashion shows. “It was highly recommended by some of my model friends. I tried other yogurt brands, but it was only The White Hat that I liked,” he said. “Its taste really caught my attention.  I knew it would do well because yogurt is already a hit in the States, and Manila has the same trending, especially in food.”

So Norrdell, who was actually on the lookout for a business as a way to have a more stable income, decided to check The White Hat’s website. “I didn’t have background in running a food business, so I decided on a franchise, wherein everything is provided for and you get good support from the owners,” he says.

Norrdell sent an email with his intent to open a franchise at SM Marikina (in Marikina City), which had opened near his house barely a year earlier. He was requested to submit some basic information—bank history, credit line, and resume, among others—and things moved quickly from there. After a sit down meeting with the owners held a week later, Norrdell was chosen as the fourth franchisee.

Together with his girlfriend, actress and TV host Niña Dolino, Norrdell invested P2 million for the first kiosk. There was also required business training for 10 days, and three to five weeks for employee training. “Everything is laid out—the franchisor already had an architect draw perspectives, an advertising agency with the marketing and graphics, and a contractor to build the kiosk,” he says.

“The only challenge is that you have to conform to everything, no matter what you think is good or not. A good compromise is to be vocal and talk with the franchisor. But this is the franchisor’s company. They best know its direction, so you should also respect that,” explains Norrdell.

After a four-month construction period, Norrdell opened a 21 square meter kiosk at SM Marikina in December 2009 to a welcoming market. Serving The White Hat’s authentic Italian frozen yogurt—from original flavor to blueberry and green tea—as well as 35 to 40 various toppings, the franchise was able to gain a loyal following and triple its customer base since first opening.

“Our target market are health-conscious, urban young adults. The franchisor handles all the marketing, such as advertisements, charity events, and promotions,” says Norrdell, who also communicates regularly with the franchisor through email, phone calls, and text messages.

“We also see each other whenever we visit the commissary for our stock pickups. I’m at the kiosks almost every day so I can ensure smooth operations. We do daily inventory checks, employee management, sales reports, and the like.”

As such, Norrdell was able to earn back his investment and open a second store on Tomas Morato Ave. in Quezon City in July 2010, only six months after he opened his first kiosk. “It’s a win-win situation being a franchisee of The White Hat. I was able to put up two stores in the span of one year, have a total of eight to nine employees, and plan to open a third one maybe next year,” he says.

“It was my first time in the food business, and having loyal customers who compliment the product is always a success point for me. At the end of the day, you have to believe in the product you’re selling,” affirms Norrdell.

The White Hat Italian Frozen Yogurt
Suite 116 Limketkai Building, Ortigas Avenue,
Greenhills, San Juan City 1502
(02) 727-4198


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