100 Next-Era CEOs in Asia 2012 -The region's best brightest, most promising-

Binalot Fiesta Foods Inc.

President Rommel T. Juan

1972
Birthplace
Philippines
Message to young people
Start your own business with resources you have now. You don’t have to make a huge amount of investment. Start from what you like to do, so that you can enjoy it, and that should lead to success at the end.

I grew up in a family where talking about business over dinner was a common practice. When I was 7 or 8, after my father went overseas on business, he always brought back souvenirs like toys for me. He would say to me, “Out of these 10, take one for yourself and sell the rest to your friends.” In this way, he taught me how to do business.

After graduating from university, I worked for a company for a while, then started to help my father’s car manufacturing company. His company had been successful and everything was perfect. But I had the feeling that it was difficult to work with my supervisors because I had known them well since I was a child. As I had plenty of time at work, I consulted my older brother about starting a new business. To start with, I remembered the food wrapped in banana leaves that our mother once served us when we traveled countryside. I wanted to bring that sense of nostalgia and pleasure to everyone.

Before launching a shop, I had my friends try the food and answer a questionnaire. In 1996, I finally created the best dishes after hearing my friends’ opinions and opened the first shop. At the beginning, we offered only a delivery service, selling 500 meals per day, and it was a big success. However, the 1997 Asian financial crisis hit our business hard and our shop faced a crisis. When I was about to close my shop, there was an offer for me to launch a shop at a food court of a department store. I was determined to take that chance, the biggest in my life, by investing everything in that store, and if I failed, I would close down the shop. But as a result, we recovered miraculously and many customers made long lines in front of the shop. We transformed our service from delivery to eat-in.

The major difference from other shops is that we don’t use plastic containers but only banana leaves to wrap the meals. I want to put all the best parts of the Philippine into the shops and create an atmosphere where customers can feel they are truly in the Philippines.

Company Profile

Name
Binalot Fiesta Foods Inc.
Headquarters
Philippines
1996
employees
 
business
Franchising of Filipino fast-food shops
url
http://www.binalot.com