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The Accidental Businessman

Dean Francis Alfar recalls his beginning as a Binalot franchisee and the reasons why he believes in the franchise
Paranaque City , Metro Manila, Philippines ( 09/07/2011
Manila, Philippines - The Accidental Businessman By Dean Francis Alfar - Growing up, I never thought that I would be a businessman. The books that surrounded me in childhood pointed to a life of writing – and to a great degree, that was what I pursued. I started with plays and later dabbled in film and television before settling down with fiction. I never thought my brain and temperament were in any way wired beyond the comfort and power of words. But life likes to throw curveballs once in a while.

One evening I went to pick my wife up from her workplace. Arriving early, I was invited to brainstorm with the creative folk at her agency while waiting for her. So I dove in, contributed an idea or two. This ultimately resulted in my being the group’s GM for their Hong Kong arm – a whirlwind that firmly affixed me in the corporate world. From there, a series of fortunate events and great partnerships led me to the realm of the entrepreneur, founding my own company. But through all of this I considered myself an accidental businessman.

Then came an irresistible opportunity named Binalot. My business partner and I met with Rommel Juan and through the power of time-lapse photography I found myself the happy franchisee of Binalot at SM Megamall.

Contrary to the risk-taking stereotype of the classical entrepreneur, I am actually a conservative at heart, preferring to consider the situation before engaging. On paper, the Binalot franchise looked good – good location, good terms, good outlook. The concept of favorite Filipino dishes wrapped in banana leaves had immediate appeal.

In practice, I found that it is all that and more. With any new business endeavor there are birthing pains, but the management and back office of Binalot worked hard (and continue to do so) to iron out the kinks, with the goal of achieving a dynamic franchise support system that is able to deal with the associated challenges of a growing business. I found that at the heart of Binalot is a singular drive to be the best in its class, by not only by managing business-related concerns but also by acting as a responsible Filipino company should – by giving back to the nation and by considering its welfare.

In these times when “Corporate Social Responsibility” is most lip service, Binalot takes its responsibility seriously. An example: the banana leaves that form the eponymous food wrapping are sourced from communities who have entered into relationship with Binalot, providing livelihood and a better quality of life for many families.

Binalot also takes the concept of “Green” with due gravity. Apart from the banana leaves, it also uses biodegradable packaging (including an alternative to polystyrene derived from rice paste) which, combined with its use of electric bikes for delivery service, combine for an eco-friendly approach.

And most importantly for me – the food is great.

Nowadays, managing a handful of businesses, I still find myself surprised once in while when I think about the past and how I never dreamed I’d be a businessman. But I’m glad to be a Binalot franchisee.

It’s a business I believe in.

(Dean Francis Alfar is a 10-time Palanca Awardee for Literature, including the Grand Prize for the Novel for “Salamanca”, as well as an internationally published fictionist.)

Contact Information:
Liezle Canotal
Corporate Communications
Binalot Fiesta Foods Inc
3688 Sun Valley Drive Paranaque City Philippines 1700
Phone: +639178174869


Filipinos love to eat, which explains why practically every major global food brand is in the country; fast food brands, especially. These international franchises and their local imitations dominate. Filipino dining taste, in turn, has become very Western.


Liezle Canotal

3688 Sun Valley Drive
Zipcode : 1700
63 922 8174869