Business Ideas for OFWs: Opening a Canteen

Filipinos love food – there’s no question about that! This is the reason why a canteen business is a good idea.

There are many options for food business in the Philippines, but a canteen is among the best options.

Opening a canteen requires lower overhead cost, needs lower marketing expenses, and has a good market. There are many different kinds of canteens you can choose from: school canteen, office canteen, mall stalls, factory canteen, and street-side carinderia.

How to Successfully Run a Canteen

Here are some of the key aspects in running a successful canteen:

Research is the key in finding success in any business. By doing research, you can determine your target market, your competition in the area, and other things that you need to take into consideration, including projected sales and incidental expenses.

Photo credit: Aquaspresso

Find a good location. While mall stalls and mini-canteens appear enticing to many because of the prospect of higher foot traffic, remember that malls often charge high rent fees and you’ll have more competition there. It would be better if you can find a location with plenty of people in your target market, without having to spend a lot of money on rental/lease costs.

Find a good cook, good staff. Filipinos love food – good food, that is. Building a regular customer base is often dependent on what food you offer and how good it is! Aside from the cook, it is important that your workers are also good; they are the ones who face the customers every single day.

Create a 30-day menu. Adobo and sinigang are all-time Filipino favorites, but your regular customers would like to have variety on the menu. This means that you have to diversify the food items you serve. You don’t actually need to offer fancy items on the menu; just make sure you don’t offer the same food day after day.

Find a trustworthy person to handle the business. The premise here is that as overseas Filipino worker (OFW), you will not have the time to personally handle the business on a day-to-day basis. It is, therefore, very important that you find a trustworthy person.

Maintain cleanliness and quality. Make sure your workers are briefed about food preparation guidelines and maintaining the cleanliness of your canteen. It is best to maintain food quality – better yet, it’s a good idea to aim for perfection and to always try your best to improve your business.

Follow government regulations. Process the necessary papers to run your business; you don’t want to have trouble with the law. Aside from getting permits and paying your taxes, also make sure you have proper sanitation and waste disposal procedures.