DAVAO CITY — Homegrown restaurant chain Penong’s Barbecue and Seafood Grill will soon have its first overseas branch in Singapore through its franchising unit.

Penong’s Vice-President for Operations Henry A. Mahilum, in a press conference Saturday, said local businessman Bong Flores has been awarded the Singapore license by Penong’s Franchising Corp.

“He (Mr. Flores) will open first his first Penong’s here before he proceeds with his plan to open his first Penong’s branch in Singapore. His first branch in Davao will open next Sunday in GMall Toril,” Mr. Mahilum said.

“They will be sourcing their chicken in Singapore at ang manggagaling sa amin ay (and what will come from us here are the) ingredients for marination and mixes,” he added.

Penong’s currently has 39 branches nationwide, of which five are company-owned and the rest are franchises.

Mr. Mahilum said another five, with one company-operated, are set for opening before the end of the year. These will be located in Valencia City, SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City, Dumaguete City, SM City in General Santos City, and Ma-a in Davao City.

A Penong’s franchise costs about P7 to P8 million.

The company official said one of the key factors to their popular dish barbecue chicken is the use of only fresh chicken. He said among their major suppliers are San Miguel Foods, Inc. and Bounty Fresh Food Inc.

Ang kinukuha lang namin ay (We only get) fresh chicken and we don’t source frozen chicken,” he said.

In Mindanao alone, where most of its branches are located, Penong’s buys up to 80 tons of chicken per month. — Maya M. Padillo