STORY / ENTREPRENEURSHIP
The food and beverage industry was hit hard during the COVID-19 quarantine period. The establishments that heavily relied on dine-in were forced to shut their doors, or to quickly resort to delivery/take out.
Before the quarantine period, FRITO KING offered food franchises that relied on foot traffic to generate daily sales, with hundreds of locations available for those looking for a business opportunity in the food business. But now, with restrictions and seriously diminished consumer confidence, it doesn’t seem to be viable at least in the short to mid term. For many franchisors, you essentially have to stop operations to rethink of the business, or spend your time handling customers struggling to pay rent, payroll and overhead. Fritz Capulong, founder and president of FRITO KING, decided he had to innovate in order to endure the crisis financially, but at the same time, pursue his mission of providing Pinoy fried favourites to the communities while helping people earn income.
BOUNCE BACK caught up with Fritz to talk about how he managed to turn a crisis into an opportunity to help Frito King generate revenue and bounce back from the pandemic.
What is Frito King and what do you offer?
Frito King is the first food-cart franchise that offers Filipino-fried favorites. However, because of the COVID19 Pandemic, Frito King decided to pivot to keep the business afloat.
Frito King decided to go into distribution of frozen processed meats. The company got distributors from various locations to sell its products; either frozen or cooked.
The distribution package is quite affordable. This is to encourage people to have multiple income streams during these uncertain times when leaning only on one-income can be quite a challenge.
What opportunities did you lose when the lockdown was implemented?
Frito King lost the opportunity to expand and grow through the usual franchising method. Sales and income were also lost. A couple of stores were also negatively affected.
How did Frito King do during the lockdown period?
The lockdown gave the owners of Frito King the opportunity to assess the brand, how to take advantage of the current situation, and adapting to the possibilities of the ‘new’ normal.
It took us about 3 weeks to re-visit the business model, plan and execute the strategies which we are implementing now.
During those times, the company was not earning any income.
How did you innovate the way you sold your products to bounce back from the crisis?
We knew we had a following. The reviews we got from our customers are good. We just needed to let more people know about them.
When we saw the big brands selling their frozen items in groceries and supermarkets, we knew we could do the same. But instead of focusing on these big businesses, we wanted to also help people earn during the Pandemic.
We thought about the distribution model and offered our distributors the frozen items which we consider to be best-sellers before the Pandemic happened.
Now, our distributors are doing well. The company has also expanded in areas where we could not before this all happened.
The low investment and high-returns also made the business enticing to people. We have also expanded our product lines to be able to retain and, at the same time, gain more loyal customers.
What is your advice to the franchise community?
Never be afraid to fail. It is part of the journey. Embrace it. Learn from it. If fear of failure keeps you from pivoting, you will be stuck.
Secondly, everyone is willing to help if you are humble enough to ask help. You’ll be surprised how many people are willing to give you a helping during these times.
Without the help of my partners, cooperation of my employees and positive feedback of my distributors, Frito King would not be where it is now.
It is still a long way ahead but the progress is there. We are still alive, moving forward, increasing our presence and letting the consumers know that there is Frito King, a company that offers Filipino-fried favorites at an affordable price while maintaining its consistent taste and quality.