Tuesday, November 29, 2016

4 Things About Subway That Impressed Me

1. The power of choice and customization

I really like restaurants (and other products and services) that allow their customers to choose and customize what they will get. In Subway, they allow the customers to choose everything – the flavour of the Sub, the bread to be used, the size, the extras, the veggies, the sauce and whether to make it a meal or not. This works, I think, because when there is more freedom, the customers become more involved in the process. When there is more involvement, there is more fun. Plus it comes rare too as not too many restaurants (and other products and services providers) offer this.

2. Fresher and healthier ingredients

That night, I was actually looking for a new and healthier option. (I think I’ve memorized all the restaurants inside Robinsons Galleria already). So even though Subway is an overpass away from the mall, I pursued it.

Subway actually became a perfect choice for what I was looking for that night. Looking for something new? Check! Looking for something healthier? Check! It is Subway’s brand promise actually – eat fresh and healthy. Subway provides a better alternative for those who are already sick and tired of the run-of-the-mill (and sometimes unhealthy) choices.

3. Simple and organized ordering system

From the starting point to the cashier, Subway’s ordering counter makes sure that the customers are guided in every step of the way. First, I was made to choose the flavour – I tried Steak and Cheese. Second, the bread – White Italian for me. Third, the size – 6 inches. Fourth, I have to choose the extras – I said yes to cheese. Fifth, the veggies – I chose all. Sixth, the sauces – I chose Southwest and Honey Mustard because I like it spicy and sweet. (Customers are allowed up to two sauces of choice.) And lastly, I upgraded it to meal – I chose Lay’s over chocolate chip cookies. And I chose iced tea for drink. I really like that I am also the one who will get my drink from the dispenser.

4. Very friendly crew members

Well, they have to because patience is much needed when there is more customer involvement in the ordering process. Some customers may change their minds too easily and ask too many questions – just like me. But they were all so polite and accommodating.

Kudos to the people behind bringing Subway to the Philippines!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

3 Things I Understood About Putting Up A Business While Eating At Angel's Burger

I wasn’t particular hungry tonight but there is something about Angel’s Burger, a 24/7 burger and hotdog stall in the Philippines, that made me come to it. Perhaps, Angel’s reminds me so much of all those sleepless nights when I quit my job to become a freelancer and all I did was write, write and write. I am in that “write zone” kind of night again and maybe that’s why Angel’s popped into my head.

And so I set off into the night only to come back with a blog post idea in my head. These are the three things that I understood about putting up a business while eating my favorite footlong hotdog (with coleslaw and hot sauce) at Angel’s Burger.

1. Availability is king.

No matter how good and no matter how affordable your product is, if it’s not available, it won’t sell.

I remember three remarkable lessons from the past that are aligned with this statement.

First, when I was still working for Lamoiyan Corporation (makers of Hapee toothpaste), there was a season when the most popular toothpaste brand in the Philippines, Colgate, disappeared in the shelves of the supermarkets of the biggest mall chain in the Philippines, SM. It was one of our highest grossing seasons in terms of sales not necessarily because buyers shifted voluntarily to Hapee. But because their brand was not available. I knew back then that the people from Colgate are in big trouble.

That’s when I learned my biggest lesson on availability and distribution management. I realized that no matter how much we, as marketers and manufacturers, work our assess off, if our toothpastes won’t make it to the shelves of our distribution channels, our work are in vain.

Way back in college, I don’t remember being excited about my classes in distribution and channel management. Then in the real world, I realized that the availability of the product is actually as important as manufacturing. This totally changed my perspective in my work as a Trade Marketing Assistant.

My second lesson is now when I am practicing as a real estate broker. In our business, location is king. The philosophy is no matter how beautiful and no matter how affordable your towers are, if they are in bad locations, they will be very hard to sell. In fact, the other side can also be true. If you have an ugly tower in a high-demand location, chances are people will still – at the very least – inquire about your project.

My third lesson is about McDonald’s. I read somewhere before that what made McDonald’s popular is not because it had the best tasting burgers and fries in the world. They key  – as the author discussed – is because it made itself very much available to everyone. It may not serve very tasty food but when the price is right and it’s fast, convenient and available, most likely, it will sell. And sell McDonald’s did!

So, there really are a huge lessons on availability and distribution management. For people like me who would like to put up a business, let us not put availability in the backseat. Some businesses placed it in front like Angel’s and look at where they are now.

2. Price is queen.

The key – I believe – is becoming lower than the competition in terms of price. Let’s say Angel’s biggest competition is Jollibee’s Yum burger. Even without checking out the price, I know that Angel’s win in this category.

But not only that, Angel’s even introduced a new purchasing scheme – the perpetual and the never-ending “Buy 1, Take 1” promo. Through this, buyers were placed under the impression that they can actually buy two for the price of one. In Tagalog, we even have a term for it – “sulit”. Or getting more of what you pay for.

But of course, Angel’s is not doing a sacrifice sale every single day. That is called suicide, not business. The price for two is actually the price for two. Period. No special promo going on.

But what Angel’s unlocked is this – all else equal, Filipinos will most likely choose the product that has a freebie over the one that has one.

3. Overall quality and taste are the heirs to the throne.

Personally, I like Angel’s footlong hotdog with coleslaw and hot sauce. With its price, I find it even tastier than the schubligs, bockwursts and other foreign-sounding sausages you buy in cinemas. You see, when you are stingy, the price becomes part of the overall quality and taste. Haha!

But no, seriously. Angel’s got some hotdog that is good enough for a repeat purchase with a low barrier to entry in terms of price and availability.

Kudos to this burger stall that has kept me company during those sleepless and hungry nights while doing some overthinking – just like tonight.

P.S. Photos were taken on a different day.

Monday, November 14, 2016

3 Things I Like About Train To Busan

1. Not a typical scary movie.

When I was young, I saw a movie entitled The Others by Nicole Kidman. At a young age, I already know that The Others is different from the other scary movies that I usually see. Not so much of annoying and deafening sound effects. Not so much of scary make-ups. What I realized upon seeing The Others is this – I can actually be scared by the depth of the story and how intelligently the plot was masterplanned. The Others definitely elevated my taste in scary movies that it became difficult for me to appreciate movies from the same genre henceforth.

Until Train to Busan came.

TTB ended the long drought of my appreciation for horror movies. Finally, there’s a new scary movie that I can actually like. Just the right amount of sound effects. Perfect make-ups to portray the zombies. Superb acting by everyone – especially by the main cast. And above all, a good story to base all these elements on.

2. All emotions in a single film.

TTB scared me and made me laugh and cry at the same time. I call it a “complete film”. When filmmakers attempt to create completes film, I praise them in my mind. I sincerely believe that the enjoyment of their audience is their top priority. For one, it takes careful planning to plot out each and every emotions in the film. You cannot just place the emotions anywhere you like – it will be a disaster. I believe there's a plan or a certain sequence that must be followed and it takes a highly skilled filmmaker to successfully plan let alone execute this.

3. Koreans are master filmmakers.

I thought Koreans only excel in love stories and dramas. I even counted myself once as a fan of hit TV series such as Stairway To Heaven and Endless Love. For a season, I also became curiously addicted to Korean movies and this is when I discovered awesome movies such as “Sunny”, “Man From Nowhere” and “Windstruck”. These movies are from varying genres such drama, action, romance and comedy. And these - I believe - are some of the greatest movies ever made.

Adding TTB to the list of my favorite Korean movies, all the genres are now complete. In my mind, I am now convinced that Koreans as master filmmakers.