Ariel and Gina de Dios have been Tapa King franchisees for two years. Apart from Tapa King, the pair operates four Total gas stations—where you may have stopped over for your travels outside of the metro. We caught up with the two about their history with franchising and their franchisee experience with Tapa King.
What made you go into the franchising business?
AD: My first franchise was a gasoline station that I applied for fresh out of college. I entered into the gasoline business because I really love tinkering with cars. I’m not particular with the brand, I just wanted to get into the gasoline business.
With Tapa King, the relationship feels very two-way. When we suggest something, they listen. They treat us like we’re guests, like we’re family. We’re always welcome. Maasikaso sila.
What do you look for in a franchise brand?
AD: Consistency in the brand. You go around and see na merong consistency [sa Tapa King]. Hindi yung iba ang Tapa King dito, iba doon.
Do you mean the look?
AD: The store, the look, the service, the uniform, the food. Kailangan palaging consistent. When we choose a brand, we’ll go to several of their outlets, and there has to be consistency in the food, look, and experience.
GD: I choose something that I’ve previously tried and liked. If I haven’t tried it, I don’t really entertain the idea [of getting the franchise]. When I choose the franchise, it has to be a brand that I personally like. I must find it clean and sanitary. The look must appeal to me. And of course, the food must be good and prepared well.
What is your ideal franchise-franchisee relationship? And what has your experience been like with the different franchises you take on?
GD: With Tapa King, the relationship feels very two-way. When we suggest something, they listen. They treat us like we’re guests, like we’re family. We’re always welcome. Maasikaso sila. They even serve us food during meetings, like it was a banquet. Even with people from different departments talking to you, they have the same culture: accommodating, professional, and hospitable.
What made you decide to franchise Tapa King? What appealed to you?
AD: We were looking for something that will complement or improve the existing concepts in our gas station outlets. A friend had one, and he told us that I had to check Tapa King out. Our initial perception with Tapa King is that it’s fast food, not home-cooked. We like the hole in the wall tapsilugan that still had the home cooked taste. When we checked Tapa King out, we found that not only is it fast food, but it had the home cooked taste as well. It had mass appeal and quality food, and it’s affordable.
For you, what does Tapa King stand for?
AD: Fast, tasty, and local food that appeals to the Pinoy palate.
What does it take to succeed in the franchise business?
GD: There are so many factors. One, of course, is that the brand has to be established and has a very good system in place. Once you’re in it, number one is control. [Then] you need to get good people.
What’s the most challenging part of running the business as a franchisee?
GD: People are the most challenging part, handling your staff.
Are there any tips that you’d like to give others on how to deal with people?
GD: Train them well so that they will be experienced and efficient.
AD: Compensate them well.
Immerse yourself in the business and learn everything you can. Eventually, you will master the ropes. You will have your own journey, and it’s exciting and fulfilling.
What have you learned during these tough times?
GD: If you’re a first-time franchisee, you really need to be hands-on. Immerse yourself in the business and learn everything you can. Eventually, you will master the ropes. You will have your own journey, and it’s exciting and fulfilling. Once you have the right people, it will be quite fulfilling to know that you’re feeding other families. What keeps us going is the thought that we’re not just feeding our family, but also the families of our staff.