Entrepreneur reinvents ‘street-side lechon manok’By Aileen Garcia-Yap
Cebu Daily News
When you hear “tiktilaok” you always think of chicken.
Frederick L. Cortes, however, thought of “Tiktilaok” as a brand (grilled chicken food chain) that’s more that just a “chicken” when he founded it in 2002.
Cortes’ passion for food made him decide to reinvent the street-side lechon manok into something better and world class.
“We started in 2002 just following what other lechon manok vendors did. Followed the flavor and all but that flopped,” said Cortes.
Realizing that doing the same things that other vendors did will not work, Cortes started reinventing his brand by doing exactly the opposite.
“While others sell in the streets, I went to the mall. Others cook in grills we use an oven. Others sell in whole while we offer half and one-fourth sizes. And we went on to tap the flavored market,” said Cortes.
Their first mall outlet opened in Robinsons Mall in 2003 starting as a cart-type operation until customers started lining up.
“We were literally creating a traffic in of customers lining up to buy our product so eventually we have to get a bigger space,” he said.
From a single outlet in 2003, Tiktilaok then grew to 24 outlets including those in Bacolod and Tacloban.
Tiktilaok is under Cortes company called One Whole Chicken, Inc.
Only a few years since it was created, Cortes’ sister-in-law Sally Y. Bun-an saw the potential of the brand and decided to invest on it through franchising.
“She gave us her trust even when we were still starting up. She helped us a lot in expansions. Now she is handling store operations while my wife Stephanie handles human resource management, marketing. And I sit as president of the company,” said Cortes.
Cortes said he believed in quality and value for money, which was the principles behind his success.
They offer four flavors for their lechon manok which includes honey roasted, garlic, hot and spicy and special which they sell at P210 for the whole, P110 for half and P65 for the one-fourth cut.
“We have also officially launched ‘My Liempo’ which we sell at P70 per 100 grams,” said Cortes.
Because Cortes is a health buff, he said that they don’t add msg or monosodium glutamate into their products.
Despite their higher prices, Cortes said that they still get a lot of customers even including foreign nationals who appreciate the quality of their products and the standard services that they offer.
Cortes said he would add four more outlets to his existing 24 Tiktilaok outlets.
“We’ll have one in Iloilo, one in Manila and we have an applicant (franchise) from Davao,” said Cortes.
At present, they are only offering franchise to family members but with their goal to reach 100 outlets by 2015 and go international by 2020, they are now setting up everything to offer franchising also to non-family members.
“We will carefully choose our franchisees. We even tapped a company to do some psychological tests to our applicants so that we can be assured that they share the same vision for our brand. We are looking at 2013 to start offering franchises to non-relative,” said Cortes.
Aside from outlet expansions, they will also be adding new products like two more new flavors – curry and barbeque.
According to Cortes, they are happy that they have redefined “quality” in their brand which means “masarap, juicy and big.”
“We will continue to bank on these qualities to grow and achieve our goals to become a global brand,” said Cortes.