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Shanghai Siomai: Fast ROI and affordable products

Shanghai Siomai attracts franchisees with affordable dumplings and quick investment recovery
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A business with a low start-up capital of P210,000, quick investment recovery, very affordable  and guaranteed fresh dumplings: These are just a few of the selling propositions that make Shanghai Siomai very attractive to franchisees.

After only two years of franchising, Shanghai Siomai already has 17 franchisees, helping the locally-bred concept grow its network to 30 stores since it opened shop in early 2007.

"The brand is designed to have fast ROI. If the location is right, the franchisees should be able to recover their investments after about six to 16 months," Shanghai Siomai chief operating officer Gilbert Jim told Entrepreneur.

Ready-to-eat or frozen dimsum for people on the go
Shanghai Siomai products are very affordably priced at P11 to P25, targeting the general masses who are mobile and needing a quick bite.

"What makes Shanghai Siomai different form other brands is the fact that our customers can expect hygienic and quality products at affordable prices. We also make our products tastier and much bigger," Jim explained.


The dumplings are also available in frozen form, vacuum packed and sealed for freshness, for customers who want to keep them in the fridge at home, and just cook them anytime they crave dumplings.

Standardized "toyomansi" and black gulaman formula
A siomai experience is not complete without the ubiquitous "toyomansi" (soy sauce and calamansi dip). Jim said Shanghai Siomai standardized the taste of its toyomansi by concocting its own special mix of soy sauce and calamansi, spiced up by authentic Chinese chili sauce instead of giving them separately to customers. Jim said customers are sure to "enjoy the real goodness and pleasure of eating Chinese dumplings" in all the branches, be it franchised stores or company-owned outlets.

For its thirst quencher, Shanghai Siomai offers black gulaman, the syrup for which is especially formulated, very aromatic and flavorful, unlike the usual mix of dissolved brown sugar and banana essence solution that other stores sell.


"They are also easy and convenient to prepare for our franchisees as they will only mix them with purified water and ice."

Jim said the dumplings, toyomansi and black gulaman have standard yield quantity so franchisees can monitor their stocks inventory easily. This, he said, gives the franchisees better control over the business.

Franchise requirements
Even if the business is relatively easy to manage and grow, Jim said they make sure that the franchisees are capable of managing the store and take care of the brand. Of course, the franchise applicants should have also sampled the products and liked them a lot first.

Jim, himself, has loved dumplings since he was a child. His mother used to prepare siomai and pack them for his snacks at school.

In 2003, he established a backyard siomai production business. He started as a wholesaler to cold stores and wet markets and then went into retail with the brand Cantonese Dimsum House. After getting a franchise consultant, he developed the Shanghai Siomai concept and started franchising it in late 2007.


According to Jim, this part of the year is the best time to start the business. "Sales are expected to shoot up by more than 50 percent during the 'BER' (September to December) months," he explained.

For franchise inquiries, call (632) 3766516, 3766052, or send an e-mail to


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