You can bring Michelin-starred restaurants to Manila and still flop
Are they really worth the hype?
Ask any chef or restaurateur in the world if they want a Michelin star and most of them would probably say yes with overflowing emotions. For people in the food and beverage industry, being awarded a star is like winning an Academy Award for overall food and quality service. For diners, it’s an indicator that the establishment could be offering the best food they will ever try.
And so you see long lines of enthusiasts and curious passersby whenever you see an establishment that has a Michelin star. In the Philippines, we’ve seen the arrival of Tim Ho Wan, FOO’D by Davide Oldani, and Tsuta Japanese Soba Noodles welcomed by people who have either tried the food in the original location or just want to taste the hype themselves. So is franchising an award-winning restaurant a sure way to success?
“Sure, we could have brought more Michelin-starred restaurants but you look at their product and you realize that it won’t work in the Philippines. Or you look at their operations and you realize it’s not adaptable in the country. Or the food only caters to the palates of a certain country.”
For Eric Dee of Foodee Global Concepts, there is an advantage to bringing Michelin-starred restaurants to the country but that’s only a small factor in determining how a restaurant will fare in the market.
“If you look at the lineup of the Michelin brands we’ve brought in, the one common thing among them is their affordability,” says Dee who has just opened Hong Kong’s Kam’s Roast. “Sure, we could have brought more Michelin-starred restaurants but you look at their product and you realize that it won’t work in the Philippines. Or you look at their operations and you realize it’s not adaptable in the country. Or the food only caters to the palates of a certain country.”
Understanding the market will help identify the restaurant you would want to franchise, but of course dealing with a Michelin-starred restaurant entails some challenges. “Most foreign brands would always look for the best operators. I remember when we were dealing with Kam’s Roast, there were 10 other companies that wanted to bring them as well. So we really had to prove our dedication to the brand.”
Whether you want to deal with a Michelin-starred restaurant or a non-Michelin one, your commitment and attachment to the brand should be real. “When speaking to branded restaurants you have to show them how much you love the brand. My name is attached to the brand as much as their name is attached to it. A failure of a brand would be a failure to my name,” says Dee.
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