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The Billionaires Series: Edgar Sia II of Mang Inasal

The Billionaires Series: Edgar Sia II of Mang Inasal

In an unoccupied space for 3 years in Robinsons Place Iloilo, Edgar Sia II began a chicken inasal restaurant that will grow into a 433 restos today – the favorite chicken with unlimited rice – Mang Inasal.

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Mang Inasal is the second largest fast food chain next to Jollibee and ahead of McDonald’s. According to Manila Times “Game Changer 4: Edgar ‘Injap’ Sia built 425 restos with sales of P9B in 8 year” April 10, 2012 by Edgar Lopez (read full article here), it has 433 restaurants as of March 2012, about 14,200 workers and a market value of Php 7 Billion.

So how did an architecture college dropout make it? Let’s find out.

Injap (“Intsik-Japan,” as he is fondly called), borrowed about Php2.4 Million pesos start-up capital from his parents to start his Ilonggo native chicken barbecue resto business. In the November 2009 Entrepreneur Philippines magazine issue “Breaking Into the Big League” by Kendrick Go, he resisted offers from interested parties to franchise the business in the early years. According to him “In three months of operations, It’s usual to have crowds because the people are trying you out. After six months, you have a 50-50 chance of sustaining that crowd. If after a year, they still keep going to you, you probably have a hit.”

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And it did not only have the hearts and pockets of the working class and ordinary Pinoys, Jollibee, the country’s largest food chain with networks worldwide, bought Mang Inasal’s secret recipe and system for Php2.8 Billion good will money. Jollibee paid $68 million or 70% of Mang Inasal in 2010 (read source here). In 2011, Mang Inasal added 84 restaurants, while Jollibee added only 28. Remember Jollibee’s Chicken BBQ amidst the rising momentum of Mang Inasal’s growth?

So what makes Mang Inasal a hit?

Here are the factors which I could think of:

  1. The taste. Chicken Inasal is a fusion of vinegar and ginger marinade, where chicken is rubbed with achuete (annatto) adding the distinct golden yellow color. 
  2. The Filipino pride. Filipinos are on the lookout for something that could represent the countryside, the unfamiliar Filipino trends of the south. Mang Inasal has its humble beginnings from the Iloilo region. It’s something we can proud of (contrary to foreigners’ notion that Filipino food is all about sugar). 
  3. Quick service. Good food. Cheap. You can buy a piece of chicken barbeque for about less than $3 or Php100. 
  4. Unlimited rice. How can you not go for something that looks like free stuff? 
  5. Lower franchise fees. This enables expansion to unchartered territories of Luzon. 
  6. Mark Bautista. The handsome singer that got well, shares the Chinese sort of looks of Edgar maybe has contributed to the fast food chain popularity. Star factor it is. 

In 2011, Edgar Sia II received a recognition as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines for Entrepreneurship. In same year he was listed as one of the Richest Filipinos in the country (read source here).

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