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Hello peeps!

I'm new to this forum and the country in general, still trying to figure out the ways and trends and thought I could get some insight for you veterans .

My husband and I are thinking of opening up a small food business here in Siargao, nothing too fancy, but some really good food with (mainly) local ingredients, good cocktails, and a nice ambiance. We both have long experience in the field, so technically, we know what we're doing. On the other hand, we noticed some setbacks: quite often, here and on other islands, restaurants are out of several items on their menus, still not sure whether it's poor stock management (unlikely as it happened way too often), or problems with the suppliers. And it seems to happen even with local products. Anyone can shed a light as to why? However, people seem not to complain about it. On one hand, it's good as restaurants don't lose business over this, but on the other, not so good, because they might not be making enough of an effort to avoid it. Or is it so?

Another point we'd like some feedback on is the fact that I read in so many different places that business here is not financially viable. Our project and our budget, are relatively small, we'll be renting the land, not buying it, and we're not aiming to make millions, but we don't want to be barely paying the bills either. A reasonable ROI is what we're looking for (covering our local expenses, taking a couple of trips per year, and saving a small amount). Any success stories out there? I know Siargao is on the rise, and we're trying to ride the wave (pun intended), and I also know that every personal story is exactly that: personal, but your feedback would be highly appreciated!

Thanks!!

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Welcome to the forum

Are one of you Filipino ?

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2 minutes ago, Jollygoodfellow said:

Welcome to the forum

Are one of you Filipino ?

Thanks . and no, but we do have an old Filipina/Swiss friend who will be partnering with us

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4 hours ago, SpinC said:

your feedback would be highly appreciated!

It reminds me of the old adage:  If you want to make a small fortune in Philippines, start with a large one. :mocking:

Other than that, you will need a lot of luck.  There are more people who want to help you part with your money, in Philippines, than there are people who want to help you make a small profit.  It has been done, rarely, so if you have the fortitude to do it then listen to the one who did it :thumbsup: rather than the other nine who did not :console:.

4 hours ago, SpinC said:

I could get some insight for you veterans .

There have been a few members who started out doing something similar to your business venture, and for a while they often post how well they are doing, but a year or so later we never see any updates.   I wonder why that is?  :SugarwareZ-047: Perhaps they will chime in her and tell us.

I can tell you that here in Dumaguete there are always many expat-owned restaurants up for sale but they never sell to local expats or local filipinos, only to new people fresh off the plane and only if they are lucky.  That's another thing that i wonder why that is.

I don't want to spoil your dream, but I will throw in one more old adage.  Never invest more in the Philippines than you can afford to lose and walk away from.  :boom:  Many have not followed this advice.  They are poorer because of it.  

 

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Starting a restaurant business is tough enough to do even in the US - the Philippines will be even harder.  

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Spoiler

 

 

mcd1.jpg

I think this will give you an idea as to what you are up against !

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Don’t buy or invest in anything that you can’t comfortably walk away from empty handed.

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Every case is different, and anything is possible.

It would be interesting to hear more about the story of how you come to this point in the journey.

Do really good analysis of who you think will be the customers and why they will give you a profit. Why, because your not the first one with this idea.

Many of the successful small business are within political protection of there clan. If you make a profit you will have competition. I know nothing of Romania so perhaps you are already prepared for how to deal with non professional problems. Something to discuss with your Filipina/Swiss friend. With any luck that person you already have known before arriving to this location. From your description your planning something more than a chicken stand. With a background in a particular field you likely can compete and execute as well as any and maybe better. Keeping hold of that even on a small scale might be different. I am from US and know for sure that these things can surprise ppl even when it is expected. Do not expect that any official will ensure any of your business or non business rights.

I have watched the advice given by few of this forum members on this sort of topic and it for the most part it is really worth listening to. Might sound negative some of it, but it is because of the been there done that viewpoints; and its why your asking.

It (small business) can be done and with profit. At the start, trust NO ONE, but each other. If you have another income source to survive on it might be fun. If not, be please be careful.

Best of luck.

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11 hours ago, Dave Hounddriver said:

It reminds me of the old adage:  If you want to make a small fortune in Philippines, start with a large one. :mocking:

Other than that, you will need a lot of luck.  There are more people who want to help you part with your money, in Philippines, than there are people who want to help you make a small profit.  It has been done, rarely, so if you have the fortitude to do it then listen to the one who did it :thumbsup: rather than the other nine who did not :console:.

There have been a few members who started out doing something similar to your business venture, and for a while they often post how well they are doing, but a year or so later we never see any updates.   I wonder why that is?  :SugarwareZ-047: Perhaps they will chime in her and tell us.

I can tell you that here in Dumaguete there are always many expat-owned restaurants up for sale but they never sell to local expats or local filipinos, only to new people fresh off the plane and only if they are lucky.  That's another thing that i wonder why that is.

I don't want to spoil your dream, but I will throw in one more old adage.  Never invest more in the Philippines than you can afford to lose and walk away from.  :boom:  Many have not followed this advice.  They are poorer because of it.  

 

This is sound advice and very correct in fact.  I have not had a business here in Philippines, nor would I contemplate one.  But did do it in Thailand and it is the same result there.

I have said before and will repeat here, the best business in Philippines is retirement.  As another members added, it does not pay much but it is stress free (mainly).

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I can you give you one example of what may appear to be a successful restaurant start up by an expat and his Filipina wife.  This is in the small town of Moalboal on Cebu island.  The restaurant opened about three years ago and seats perhaps 20-25 if all tables were full.  The menu is fairly extensive and contains a mix of Philippine and other types of cuisine.  Their food is, in my opinion, very good.  A varied menu, well prepared, good flavor and presentation, clean surrounding, pleasant service, etc.  Despite this I was almost certain they would not survive because the first year there were very few customers.  My wife and I would go to dinner and quite often we would be the only diners during our entire dinner.  Slowly the business picked up and it appears they are doing well.  I say "appears" because I do not know if in fact they are making a profit.

If they succeed I think it is because:

Varied menu with a large selection of Filipino food.

The majority of their customers are local Filipinos.

Rarely "out of stock"

Food is consistently good from meal to meal.  What I mean to say is that someone is following a recipe and preparing the food in a consistent manner.  If you liked it this time, it will almost certainly taste the same next time.

Clean - Plates, cutlery, glasses, table, chairs, walls, floor, windows, etc.  You feel comfortable eating there - no "ick" factor.

Friendly employees

Prices are VERY reasonable for the quantity and quality of food.  A nice dinner and beverage for 200 peso or even less and the entree may be enough to feed two people.

BUT - there is almost always a but when you hear something positive in the Philippines:

The expat and his wife both live and work in Sweden and visit the Philippines about twice a year for two or three weeks.  So it is possible, maybe even likely, that the restaurant may be making only a very small profit or perhaps none.  I say this because the prices are so low that it seems unlikely that there would be sufficient margin to support the overhead.  That may explain why the owners still live and work in Sweden!   And it almost goes without saying that a  business here with an absentee owner has a failure rate approaching 100%.  Final word - if there is a business here that is making money, your competition will open a competing enterprise next to yours within a very short time.  Customer base drops, prices decrease, profits shrink or disappear until the supply meets demand, then the whole cycle starts again.  As others have said, it can be done but success is rare.  Good luck and best wishes if you decide to give it a try.   

 

Edited by Mike J
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