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The right mix that makes adobo click

The success of Adobo Connection as a business is analogous to the right mix that makes adobo an all-time favorite dish of most Filipinos.
By James Humarang |
The right mix that makes adobo click
<>If there is one dish that Filipinos can call as their own comfort food, it will have to be adobo. It is a salty and savory stew with the prominent flavor of soy sauce, peppercorn, and bay leaves, plus the tanginess of vinegar. Whether it is chicken or pork (or a combination of the two), no one can easily resist the mouth-watering dish served over steamed rice.

Not surprisingly, almost every domestic household has its own version of the famous local dish. Heirloom recipes mostly include a version or two of adobo. Despite those variations, there is no denying that it successfully connects us all.

And because adobo may not always be served at home due to busy schedules and the tediousness of cooking it, the idea of a restaurant chain serving the Filipino comfort food is practically an instant hit, especially among food lovers. Thus, Adobo Connection is popular for its convenient, fast, and tasty menu that brings us ‘home.’

The success of the business is analogous to the right mix that makes the best-tasting adobo. Basic ingredients are important to bring about the right taste to satisfy palates. Logically, adobo would not be complete without meat, soy sauce, bay leaves, black peppercorn, onion, and vinegar. Adobo Connection will not be a growing business if not for its management, menu, strategic pricing scheme, quick service, and effective franchising model.

The management

adobo_connection_2.JPGFor sure, co-owners Jerome Uy, Meredith Ngo, and Kellda Centeno were confident their venture would make it when they started Adobo Connection in November 2010. Their first store in Dela Rosa Street in Makati City remains as one of its smallest today: just 40 square meters in land area with a minimal 20-customer seating capacity.

According to Centeno, all three of them used to work in the corporate sector. Her two business partners were not new into the food business. In fact, one of them was at that time already into food franchising through another restaurant chain called Fusion. The three started a small company that eventually grew until the venture branched out to franchising. There are particular teams within the organization that take care of specific business processes.

Interesting menu

Centeno admitted that the original lineup of menu had been modified to accommodate more adobo versions to please their customers. In fact, the menu is still subject to possible changes, depending on the ever changing taste and preference of the discerning patrons.

A team is tasked to develop and test new dishes that would be added to the menu. It usually takes about 2 months to 3 months to introduce a new product. Aside from offering unique adobo versions like cheesy adobo, crispy adobo flakes, fried adobo, and adobo sa gata, Adobo Connection has already diversified its offerings to include other locally favored dishes like shanghai rolls, sisig, fish and tofu, gising-gising, and kare-kare.

Strategic pricing

Adobo Connection knew which market to effectively target. That is why it carefully selected and adopted a pricing scheme that would suit the broader base of the market. “We’re not Jollibee or Mang Inasal, but we’re targeting the same market segment and we’re offering a different menu,” Centeno explained.

This is why the prices of the meals reflect value for money. Prices of the chain’s main adobo meals start at P99. Non-adobo dishes in bundled meals have prices that range from P99 to P139. Those come with unlimited rice, a promo that most customers truly appreciate. Other combo meals (without unlimited rice) range from P59 to P89.

adobo_connection_3.JPGQuick service

Of course, Adobo Connection also adopts food serving processes common in fastfood. All dishes are prepared in any of two commissaries (located in Kapitolyo in Pasig and Bulacan). Adobo is properly stored within a definite time frame per store to ensure quality and safety.

This is why the restaurant chain is best for students and young urban professionals, who like eating some of their favorite local dishes outside home. It is also best for people who want affordable and quality Filipino meals in an instant.


Adobo Connection is a growing franchise. The company owns just three stores of more than 50 open and soon-to-be-opened locations nationwide. The franchise has been popular particularly among many investors and entrepreneurs since it started franchising in 2012.

To get an Adobo Connection franchise, a completed application form would have to be submitted to the designated franchising team. An initial capital outlay of about P4 million to P6 million is required; the exact amount depending on the size and location of the proposed branch. The figure also includes a franchise fee of P650,000.

The franchise team would evaluate the application and conduct site inspection. If everything is set, the newly franchised store can be inaugurated and opened for business within just 6 weeks to 8 weeks. The team would also assign senior managers to help oversee and manage the new store during its first two weeks. This is to make sure the new management would be able to be familiarized with the standards and the prescribed operational practices/processes.

For their franchisees and for other entrepreneurs who are into the competitive food industry, Centeno has this piece of advice:”Be open to competition before setting up any business.” She added, “Know your product, your brand, and your market.” Adobo Connection knows it best; it followed the same principles.

Are you considering getting a franchise of Adobo Connection? Check out its free online directory listing here.


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