“So this is where all the people are!” exclaimed Kingsley Tan when he walked into a packed cybercafé two years ago. The freelance graphic designer, his sister, and potential business partners were then scouting Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City for a franchise to invest in. At first, they looked at food concepts; learning about the Mineski Infinity cybercafé made them reconsider.
They went to another branch along E. Rodriguez Avenue, Quezon City to see if it was as packed as the one in Katipunan—it was. “We went around 10:00 pm. and there were still a lot of people, and I thought that was unusual,” Tan recalled.
But it was a meeting with Mineski’s founder Ronald Robins that sealed the deal for Tan and his partners. “We liked where the company was headed—[Robins] knows where he is going with it, and he understands the market because he is the market,” said Tan.
Setting up the business
So in November 2014, Tan and his partners finally set up their own Mineski shop along E. Rodriguez Avenue. It was a huge gamble for them. For one, the total investment needed, more than P3 million ($64,721.94), was rather steep. “We ran the numbers and knew that we were paying a premium for the brand,” disclosed Tan. “We were apprehensive at first, especially since other cybercafés had cheaper packages.”
But, in the end, Tan and his partners saw that the investment was worth it. “Mineski already had 10 years of experience, so we figured that paying the franchise fee just saved us 10 years of headache,” said Tan. To finance their investment, Tan and his partners pooled their savings and took on loans.
In less than a year, the gamble paid off as they were able to set up their second Mineski shop in Caloocan last August, using profits from the first branch. Tan credits the success, in part, to Mineski’s growing e-sports community, which already has 300,000 members. Tan’s first branch, which houses 100 computer units, caters to more than 35,000 gamers per month on average, and can still cash in up to P21,000 ($453.03) even on slow days.
Overhead remains a concern, though, especially since it is a 24-hour business. “We keep an eye on our electric bills since it takes majority of our expenses,” Tan disclosed. To save on electricity costs during off-peak hours, Tan advises his staff to either turn off air-conditioning or move all customers to just one section of the shop.
Still, the biggest challenge for Tan is ensuring that his customers are happy. He has trained the staff to respond to customer complaints right away. “Because if you don’t, then expect a bad review on Facebook,” he said. Tan is happiest when the shop is packed and nobody’s complaining. “I’m not a gamer; I’m in this purely for business, but I still want my gamers to be happy.”
Total investment: Starts at P3.2 million ($64,721.94), depending on the size and location of the shop
Contract term: 5 years, renewable
Inclusions: License to use name, trademark, and logo; site selection assistance; interior renovation; operations manual; training; technical support; computer gaming units, including monitors, tables, and chairs; lighted signboards, among others
Mineski Infinity (Mineski Franchise Corp.)
(+63 2) 442-2228
Ieth is a freelance lifestyle writer and creative stylist. Follow her on Twitter, @iethinolino.
This article was originally published in the December 2015 - January 2016 issue of Entrepreneur Philippines magazine.