Young businessman sustains class project, now franchising-A A +A
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
WHEN his college teammates decided to give up their stake in their start-up business after graduation three years ago, Jeryl Tio promised himself he would grow Wild Rice, even if it meant growing the start-up business alone.
Fast forward to this year, Wild Rice, which started as a requirement for graduation, now has 12 branches spread across Cebu and Mindanao. Five branches are located in the cities of Surigao, Bacolod and Davao.
“I had so much faith in the business, even from the start. So, I decided to pursue it even after graduation. And when my teammates left to pursue their dreams, I bought the business and since then, I single-handedly operated it,” said Tio, a business administration graduate of the University of San Carlos.
Wild Rice offers a selection of special fried rice in Asian flavors and toppings, influenced by tastes in Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and China. It is served in a handy rice box. Its menu boasts of a selection of dishes like Mongolian barbecue, java rice, nasi goreng, Shanghai sweet chili, chicken-yakitori, beef teriyaki, and spicy seafood teriyaki.
Tio admitted there were challenges he encountered when he assumed operations, but because of the business’ solid foundation since its inception, he surpassed them.
Back in college, he said, his team was so aggressive in promoting the brand that it earned positive market feedback, especially among students. His team joined trade fairs and intramural activities of various universities in Cebu and engaged in social media for marketing.
Its first food cart business was located at the Cebu Doctors’ University Hospital in the North Reclamation Area. His team, composed of seven members, pooled some P130,000 to start the business. Given the team’s aggressive marketing promotions, they were able to achieve returns of their investment in less than four months.
Tio recalled he had a rich exposure in the food business when he graduated in high school. For a time, he stayed in Europe and worked in one of the Asian restaurants there. He came back to Cebu to pursue his college education and took up a business course.
Wanting to grow the business, Tio ventured into franchising. At first, he approached a franchise consultancy firm to help him out but he later opted to draft his own franchise system.
He said his confidence stemmed from his experience in the food business and the learning and knowledge he acquired in school. Tio worked on his franchise program manual for six months. It was in December 2011 when he officially opened the business for franchising.
“I didn’t have a backer. All I had was the faith that the franchise system would work out,” he said, adding that he was a bit scared at first.
But the system he worked hard on didn’t fail him, as it turned out well. He said one of his franchisees in Surigao City is now earning P10,000 per day and has opened another branch in the same city. His branches in Cebu, meanwhile, are earning over P50,000 in sales per month.
Encouraged by the success of Wild Rice and the rosy outlook of the food industry here, Tio said he and his family will open an Asian fusion restaurant along Salinas Drive in Lahug this May.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 20, 2013.