Manila firm opens wine bar, resto in Ayala Center

MANILA-based Planet Grapes Inc. is looking into opening five more outlets in Cebu in the coming years.

The company recently opened in Ayala Center Cebu new wing its first wine bar and restaurant concept in the country.

“The plan is to make Planet Grapes like a Starbucks of wine, making it available to every Filipino,” Planet Grapes owner Romy Sia said in an interview.

“The Planet Grapes brand will take the next generation of wine drinkers to a new level and help them evolve into wine lovers,” he said.

Planet Grapes is set to open two outlets of the same concept in Manila before the year ends.

According to Sia, the planned expansion in Cebu may cost them an estimated investment of P5 million to P10 million per outlet, depending on the size. He said they are looking into locations in the IT Park, SM Seaside City in SRP and in other areas where there is high foot traffic.

Wine culture

Sia, who has been in the retail industry for 20 years owning other companies like Healthy Options, Pow Wow and Wine Story, diversified his business into selling wines in 2009. His first Planet Grapes retail outlet is in Fort Bonifacio.

When Sia decided to bring the brand to Cebu, he thought of setting up a bar and restaurant to capture the market of upcoming wine lovers.

“Unlike in Western society, we don’t have a wine at meal times...Fortunately, Filipinos love to eat so we believe the best way to get them to try and like wine is to serve them their favorite food...The discovery of pairing food with wine is what Planet Grapes is all about,” he said.

Options

While wines are usually sold in bottles, the store is equipped with state-of-the-art Italian Enomatic dispenser machines that allow guests to sample a sip, half glass or full glass of different wines from the best wine regions in the world for P60.

Planet Grape’s retail section features wines from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, North and South America.

Meanwhile, Sia, who is the managing director of the Healthy Options chain in the country, said the company will open a Healthy Options supermarket concept in Cebu soon.

He said they are still looking for space in Cebu. The company opened its first supermarket concept in a 500-square-meter store in Glorietta shopping mall in Manila.

While sourcing organic and naturally-grown products locally still remain a challenge for retailers like them, Sia said they have started partnering with local farming communities.

“We are in partnership with our local farmers, encouraging them to plant and raise more organic vegetables and livestock,” he said.

The Healthy Options chain has 23 outlets, two of which are located in Cebu, one in Ayala Center Cebu and the other SM City Cebu.

“I want to support celebrity farmers in the Philippines and help recognize farmers who are pursuing this advocacy,” Sia said. He said that if there are celebrity chefs, the country should also popularize “celebrity farmers.”

Healthy Options has five partner organic farmers.

The company currently imports 90 percent of its total product inventories while 10 percent is sourced locally.

“With all these efforts, we aim to at least increase the local content of our stores from 10 percent to 30 percent, so we could help uplift the lives of more farmers,” Sia said.
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