Avin Ong: From Selling Hangers In Caloocan Market To Becoming The Young CEO Of Macao Imperial Tea & 250 More Restos & Cafes

If you’re a young aspiring entrepreneur, the success story of 30-year-old Avin Ong could help you build an entrepreneurial mindset and direct you towards your goals.

Image by Avin Ong via Facebook

From helping pack hangers, Avin is now the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Fredley Group of Companies. Aside from the widely popular Macao Imperial Tea, Avin now has over 250 restaurants and cafe branches all over the Philippines. He manages more than 2,000 employees and 9 separate brands including New York Fries and Dips, Liang Crispy Roll, Macao Imperial Tea, Nabe Izakaya and Hot Pot, Café Kitsune, Happy Truck, and more.

But before he reached the top, Avin was a working student trying to find ways to juggle work and studies. His father died even before he was born and he saw his single mother working hard selling hangers in Caloocan. At the young age of 7, Avin was already earning through tutoring. In high school, he started selling fruit shakes at a Caloocan market.

“We were very poor so I sold fruit shakes at the wet market. My childhood was spent either at school, working for myself, or working for my family. It instilled a strong work ethic in me. I know what it feels like to have nothing,” Avin shared in the CEO Magazine.

In college, he got a full scholarship from De La Salle University and graduated with a degree in BS in Mathematics. With double MBAs and an honors degree, Avin entered the corporate world but soon decided to resign after realizing it was not the world for him. With the support and encouragement from his family, Avin decided to venture into business.

Difficulties Led To Success

In 2014, Avin opened a Japanese restaurant thinking it would be easy because he’s a foodie. Soon he realized how difficult and demanding it is to manage a restaurant. Despite it, Avin didn’t give up being an entrepreneur and started looking for better business opportunities instead.

While in Macau, Avin found a little milk tea shop that he loved called Macao Imperial Tea. He decided to bring the brand to the Philippines and open it for franchising. His idea worked!

In five years, Macao Imperial Tea grew to become the Philippines’ largest and the most dominant milk tea chain in the country with more than 230 outlets.

Building Macao Imperial Tea

Avin recalled that he didn’t expect his milk tea brand would be selling like hotcakes in the Philippines. He shared on Esquire, “When I started Macao, I didn’t know that it was going to grow as big as 230 branches. During that time, ang dream ko lang talaga was maka-20 branches ako, I can be so happy na.”

Image by Macao Imperial Tea via Facebook

“I didn’t expect na parang, when we opened, all of a sudden, all the potential franchisees approached us wanting to franchise and then grabe, there were days talaga na one day mag open kami ng 13 stores all at the same time,” he recalled.

Looking back, Avin said he wasn’t just selling milk tea franchises to partners but he was sharing his vision. He repackaged Macao Imperial Tea to serve better products and help customers have better experiences. The previous setup of Macao Imperial was only a grab-and-go shop. Avin changed the menu and designs of the shop to cater to the Filipino’s need to chill and relax with friends while drinking milk tea.

Avin’s strategy worked and earned him several recognitions in the business world. He was awarded Asia CEO Awards’ Entrepreneur of the Year, Young Leader of the Year, Asia Leaders Awards’ CEO of the Year, and many others.

Are you interested in how much will it cost to start a milk tea business in the Philippines? You might be surprised that even with limited capital, you can start your brand in no time. Then, you can also start checking helpful guides on starting a milk tea business.

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