Welcome friends, to another installment of Franchisee Spotlight! Franchisee Spotlight is our series that highlights the best of the best among our franchisees. We also want to show our readers that anyone with a strong will and a willingness to work can make it to the top with Potato Corner. This time, we’re thrilled to be featuring a young power couple whom a lot of youngsters today can look up to. The spotlight is on Fay Pua and Michaelvin Chiong!
They currently have 4 franchises, with their newest one at Petron Macapagal opened just a few days ago! They have been franchisees since 2015. Off the bat, Potato Corner is not the only thing they’re doing! Fay also has a swimwear business, while Michaelvin is in law school. We’re aware at HQ that a lot of young people don’t like to get tied to doing just one thing these days, and that there is a multi-hypenate in all of us. This couple the example that you can do Potato Corner and other ventures at the same time.
Why Potato Corner?
Fay: I’ve always been obsessed with Potato Corner! Back when I was in college, my friends and I would travel outside of campus just to get our Potato Corner fix–it was that intense! I’m an avid fan!
Indeed, from fry lover to franchisee!
How did you get started with your franchise?
Fay: The thought of a Potato Corner franchise would pop up in my head every so often even back in college, but I never really seriously looked into it. It was only after college and a few months into my first job where I was really itching to start up a business venture and thought it was the perfect opportunity. On weekends, Michaelvin and I would scout for locations; we got rejected a number times, but just kept pushing until we secured out first branch in Makati.
Michaelvin: That year, I was about to go into Law School and it was always my dream to pay for my own tuition if ever I do decide to study after my undergraduate degree. I wanted to give my mom something to be proud of so I started looking for sources of income to fulfill this goal. My girlfriend, Fay, brought up her interest with Potato Corner and together we started working toward opening our first branch together.
Fay and Michaelvin at their Petron Bel-air Branch
Fay and Michaelvin with Spudster and Crew at their Petron C5 Branch
Fay: I think it was really the fact that we were so young and since it was our first business venture individually and as partners, we had to really play everything by ear. It’s funny looking back and thinking about how we called shots when we were still new. We had hiccups with our first employee, and learned so much after that. Let’s just say, a useful tip for those looking to start a business in food: really do background checks on your employees, once you’ve found a keeper, take care of them because your employees will take you far!
What challenges you the most as a franchisee?
Michaelvin: Choosing the best location possible. It’s pretty tough especially because of the popularity of the brand. Almost all corners have a Potato Corner! It’s really a challenge to grow the business and keep moving forward to expand, but definitely worth it.
Fay and Michaelvin with their employees in a meeting
What is the most rewarding part about being a Potato Corner franchisee?
Michaelvin: Seeing the smiles, not only of our customers, but also our employees. We value our employees a lot and make sure they are always well taken care of. They are the secret to our success. We are very thankful to them and nothing is more rewarding than to see them happy.
What piece of advice can you give someone who is young like you, who wishes to franchise Potato Corner as well?
Michaelvin: You are on the right track. Potato Corner is a great brand so just study the locations thoroughly. Take care of your employees.
Fay: It’s super cheesy, but I wear a bracelet that has this engraved “You are your only limit”. I have a lot of friends message me inquiring about how to open up a business or start a franchise–and that’s great! It’s good to have these intentions and be interested, but it’s essential to do something about that interest and materialize it. I think this goes into anything you want to achieve in life, if you are determined enough and have the will-power, there is nothing else stopping you but yourself.
Fay and Michaelvin with their employees in their company outing
Many young people, especially students, are interested in having a franchise. But many are not sure on how to finance their kiosks. What tips or steps can you share to these kind of people?
Michaelvin: It’s no secret–hard work. If you want it bad enough, you’ll find ways to pursue your dream. I worked part time during the summer as a teacher, sold coffee beans, leased condominium units, and many other small “rackets” to save up for the franchise cost.
Fay: Study your location and business model properly so you can easily present it to someone who can invest in your franchise or business, if you don’t have enough resources to come up with the investment cost. Don’t let the thought of being the student stop you. This is actually the perfect time to invest in a business because you are much more daring when you are younger. Go explore on your options! I also think it’s important to seek advice from other people who might be in the same industry who can offer their counsel–it can be a friend who runs a business, a mentor, your parents or relatives.
Fay: I think it’s all about mindset. I started the franchise with no degree or background in business, but here I am 3 years later with 3 Potato Corner stores and my own swimwear line! Everyday is a learning process for me still, and I don’t have everything figured out, but here are my two cents: have a growth mindset and don’t close yourself off to labels–it doesn’t matter if you don’t have any background in business, if you keep staying within our safety nets, you will never know what else you can achieve. Remember the goals you’ve set for yourself and work hard to move forward.