Within the year, a Goto King branch is set to be opened by an Arab national in Abu Dhabi, Goto King founder Maria Teresa Dula-Laurel discloses. A second Middle East outlet will probably open early next year.
And during the 8th Filipino Franchise Show on September 4 to 6, 2009 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City, the company is launching four new franchise concepts. These are the Goto King Express Cart, Goto Queen Kiosk Type, Hot Bowl for hot soup and hot rice toppings, and Habba-Habba which will sell noodles from Lucban, Quezon Province.
In a way, Goto King is bucking the trend, since other food franchisers have been reportedly suffering declines in sales of up to 20 percent this year, a sign of the troubled economic times.
Having gone through numerous domestic and international crises in its 25 years in the business, the company is well-poised to weather this one, too. After all, Goto King was established in 1984 at the backdrop of domestic political and economic crises as it was a time of mass upheaval due to the assassination of former Senator Ninoy Aquino
Dula-Laurel narrates that the management of mall food courts were then looking for new offerings that would be easy on the budget but would satisfy the hunger of the customers. With a P50,000 capital, she approached a mall operator in Cubao, Quezon City to sell her concept, and with just a small food cart, and goto and tokwa't baboy on the menu, Goto King instantly became a hit across all classes of the market.
"(Filipinos) all love to eat goto. However, it was considered street food and the usual impression was that it was not sanitarily prepared. So we repackaged it, improved its quality and then placed it in a mall setting where the customers can enjoy it in a clean and air-conditioned surrounding," she says. In 1987, the company opened its first 24-hour store along Timog Avenue in Quezon City.
Opening the business to partners
In 1994, Goto King opened its doors to franchisees, with the first franchise partner setting up a 30-seater outlet on V. Luna Street, also in Quezon City. Today, the company has 10 franchise outlets out of the 32 total number of stores. The farthest branch up north is in Pangasinan, and down south, the farthest is in Cebu. The company is now in negotiations for a franchise outlet in Iloilo.
Dula-Laurel says before going into franchising, they familiarized themselves with all the nitty-gritty that goes into signing up franchisees. Not only did they attend seminars on franchising held locally, but even attended those held abroad.
Goto King charges a franchise fee of P500,000 for a stand-alone store. The total investment ranges from P2 million to P5 million.
Secret of its staying power
Dula-Laurel knows only too well from experience that the survival of a company in these difficult times depends on how it is able to maintain the high quality standards it is known for, and not on employing any of the so-called "band-aid solutions" or "of-the-moment" adjustments.
"Especially if you haven't done them before or are not used to making these adjustments, they will not help you. (Your customers) will only keep on patronizing you if you will maintain the same standard, quality and customer care (that they have been used to receiving from your company)," Dula-Laurel shares.
One indication that Goto King has its business strategies on surviving the hard times down pat is that, even in the midst of recession, Goto King revenues went down by only 3 to 5 percent in the first half of the year. "And we are still expecting positive growth this year because we are scheduled to open four more outlets. So compared to others, we are okay," she says.
Dula-Laurel attributes the company's staying power mainly to the excellence of its products, and also to the way the company deals with its customers. "Our loyal customers call me personally if they see something wrong. At the end of the day, it is still the way you care for your customers and your products that really matter," she goes on to explain.
Goto King (main office)
159 Kamias Road Extenstion, Sikatuna, Quezon City
Telephone: (632) 922-3206