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WITH all the new branches of FooDee Global Concepts’s restaurants comes a new way of working. To their brands, they’re adding new menu items — but how would you like a side of data served with your wings?
“I think the pandemic really helped to push forward all the technologies,” said FooDee’s COO Eric Dee during a media tour of their restaurants at the new Gateway Mall 2 in Quezon City’s Araneta City on Sept. 25.
While there are hand sanitizers on tables (holdovers from the pandemic), mostly the changes he’s seeing are increased reliance on technology and data, noting the importance of online payments and ordering. He does point out that since the world reopened, “Everyone’s back in dining, and then deliveries are kind of fizzling again.”
As for data, for example: looking into records with their POS (point of sale) as well as their partnership with online platform Booky, they’ve discovered that they go through 100 kilograms of chicken wings in a day at their Pound stores (the branch at Gateway Mall 2 is No. 11), hence the pivot from burgers.
“As an entrepreneur, I deal with a lot of gut feel. But gut feel cannot be taught,” said Mr. Dee. “The only way to do it is through analysis and decision-making through facts.
“If we didn’t use these analytics, we wouldn’t have made the decisions that we’ve made today,” he said.
FROM PORK FLOSS TO HOT SAUCE
Pound, the former burger joint turned wings purveyor, is just one of FooDee’s restaurants in the Gateway Mall expansion, many of which have added menu items or are holding promos to celebrate their presence in the new mall.
There is Tim Ho Wan (a Hong Kong chain with its original bearing a Michelin star; its master franchise acquired by Jollibee), to which they added Tofu pork floss, and other chef’s specials to its menu. In Hawker Chan, another chain bearing a Michelin star in its country of origin (in this case, Singapore), they’ve added new treats like laksa, char kway teow, and duck, as well as merienda bowls and platefulls (new serving sizes).
For Pound, in the Gateway Mall 2 branch especially, they’re holding a Hot Wings challenge (hot sauces from the Philippine Hot Sauce Club, ranging in heat levels from one to six). Plus, until Sept. 28, guests can pay what they want for a second burger.
Finally, there is Spanish yogurt chain Llao Llao (the Gateway Mall 2 branch is store No. 36) which will offer a fast pass option — a way to skip the long lines, due to the viral fame Llao Llao got on social media.
Llao Llao and Hawker Chan are expanding quite rapidly, thanks to franchising deals FooDee has made. Hawker Chan will have 17 stores by the end of the year, while Llao Llao is on track to get to 50. Most of these franchises will open outside Metro Manila, and Mr. Dee points out that their Iloilo branch for Llao Llao makes six figures a day. “Provincial is the growth for us.”
After mentioning the brands that they have sourced from all over the world, Mr. Dee talked about why bringing them here is important for the industry. “The spotlight’s always going to our neighboring countries. I think the Philippines has a food industry that’s just clamoring for all these brands.”
To that end, he hinted at concepts they’re working on for next year: a Japanese concept present in Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, a milk tea brand, and a famous steak joint. — Joseph L. Garcia