Top 8 Profitable Food Business Ideas in the Philippines

If there’s one thing our money is spent to, its food. Pinoys love food, in fact, we eat rice three meals a day, and sometimes we eat merienda for brunch and another for an afternoon snack. It’s the reason why food businesses in the Philippines are always in demand. Filipinos also bond over food, especially with occasions like birthdays, job promotion, end of school year, housewarming, reunions and sometimes as simple as food trips.

Observe the new businesses around, most of them are food stalls selling food and coolers. No matter how weird the signage is, as long as they serve familiar foods, it will surely attract customers. That’s how profitable food business in the Philippines is. This is why there are a lot of food stalls popping around.

So we’ve compiled a list for you to know which food business you can start. But before that, plan a strategy that can make you stand out from the rest of the food stalls. Having an excellent location that is accessible to your target market will be a great start. If your target market is young adults, try to build your business near universities or condominiums. This way, you are right in front of your market, and you will be visible to them.

To give you an idea of which food is the in demand here in the Philippines, check out this list.

1. Ice Cream

There is no age requirement for ice cream, and with our country being hot most of the time, ice cream is the best idea to start off as a food business. Throughout the years, we as kids would run outside the moment we hear the ice cream bell ring or the ice cream song. Ice cream has made a great impact in the 90’s with the local ‘manong sorbetero’ (ice cream vendor) selling dirty ice cream near schools and around the neighborhood. It’s a great way to ward off the heat, especially with us being in a tropical country.

But as years pass by, ice cream has evolved into different types. We’ve known fried ice cream, which was a hit in the early 2000’s but so far, soft serve ice cream has been in continuous demand for Filipinos. It is often served in fast food chains, so that will be one of your biggest competition. However, with the right business strategy, it is still one of the most profitable food business you can start.

The ice cream machine could cost you a lot but choose a good payment term could really help. Next, choose the best option for the location of your business. This is important since we are still building your business name, being visible and attractive to your market is ideal. Once you start, try inventing new flavors to keep your customers curious and widen your market range.

2. Snacks or merienda

Filipinos commute all the time, and it makes up 20% of their day. So it’s natural that one would stop for a merienda while waiting for the next jeepney or in line for the fx. There is a wide variety that you could choose from, but it is best to choose a food that will fit in with your location.

If you are near terminals, make sure to offer options for drinks and something that they can eat on-the-go. It could be, turon, waffles, maruya, peanuts, kamote cue, sago’t gulaman, melon juice or banana cue.

If you’re planning for more familiar street foods, you could sell; fishball, kikiam, kwek kwek, chicken balls, squidballs, barbecue, or hotdog-on-stick.

If you’re willing to focus on coolers, you could sell; halo-halo, mais con yelo, saging con yelo, or ice scramble.

If your location can give you an opportunity to have tables and chairs for your customers, you can sell comfort foods like arroz caldo, goto, ginataang bilo-bilo or ginataang mais. Don’t forget to offer candies and biscuits as they are often in demand snacks too. Make sure to try to invent a new kind of snack, and variety. You could change an ingredient like ube turon instead of banana turon or kare-kare sauce for your fishball stall. This way, people will remember you and come back for more.

3. Kakanin or Glutinous Rice Cakes.

Kakanin is heavy on the stomach but light on the budget. That’s why they are often offered in different occasions and parties. These are sweet and sticky treats that satisfy every Filipino craving. Also, they are a very well loved Filipino delicacy that sometimes, no matter what time of the day it is, Filipinos would come looking. To give you an idea of different Filipino kakanin delicacies, here’s a list.

  • Suman
  • Puto
  • Kutsinta
  • Pichi-Pichi
  • Biko
  • Cassava Cake
  • Palitaw
  • Sapin-Sapin
  • Buchi
  • Bibingka
  • Kalamay

4. Pandesal and baked goods

Bread is one of the most in-demand food in the Philippines and a food staple next to rice. It is a breakfast staple in which Filipinos partner their pandesal with hot coffee or sometimes dip their pandesal in it. Have you ever tried that? If not, then you better should. It tastes amazing. Our lolo and lolas do it all the time and just think of it, by doing this, you don’t need to buy any spread for your bread.

Bakeries have been known to last in the food business in the Philippines and thus have been proven to be very profitable. Not only do Filipinos eat bread in the morning, they are the best merienda choice. Sometimes we even partner pandesal with pancit canton with a glass of cola. Merienda solved!

However, location is still important. Most bakeries are often found near subdivisions or condominiums and sometimes at tricycle terminals. There are even bakeries that open near a construction site or a developing subdivision for long-term purposes. Just think, when people move in and you’re the visible bakery near them, they will surely remember to buy their bread from you every morning.

Filipinos offer a different variety of bread that can acquire a huge market range. So make sure to put that baking skill to good use and invent different pieces of bread to offer. As of late, malunggay pandesal is a favorite option for their morning bread. Try tweaking it a bit and maybe you could top that with your new pandesal flavor.

Starting a bakery may not be as expensive as starting an ice cream shop. Marikina offers a lot of baking tools at a good price. As of writing this article, you could buy an oven there for around 13,000 – 25,000 depending on the size you want. Add the cost for baking tools and ingredients, you might need 50,000 to 70,000 as capital for a bakery. But with the right strategy, you could return your investment for less than a year.

5. Carinderia

For most busy people, carinderia is their place to go. Carinderias offer a wide variety of Filipino dishes from breakfast meals to dinner. They offer home cooked meals and are often situated near terminals, outside business establishments and sometimes near schools. If you’re gifted in making yummy meals, this is the best option to showcase that cooking talent. You will need minimal capital for a carinderia but you will require manpower. Washing the dishes, getting orders, cleaning tables and cooking the food isn’t exactly a one-man job. Get a team to help you run your business and think of a weekly meal plan so that your customers will have a different meal daily. Also, schedule the best time to buy your ingredients so you could offer fresh ingredients that will add a bonus to the taste. To give you an idea of what to offer in your future carinderia, see the list below.

  • Fried Chicken
  • Tinolang
  • Adobo
  • Sinigang
  • Bopiz
  • Afritada
  • Menudo
  • Bicol Express
  • Sisig
  • Caldereta
  • Pakbet
  • Kare-Kare
  • Chopseuy
  • Diningding
  • Stir-fry Vegetables

Some carinderia offer soup with their meals. Filipinos love soup or sabaw, especially with their rice. This is a great idea to attract customers with big appetites. The soup will make them order more rice which will be beneficial to you. If you have some budget, try to decorate your carinderia like a home. Add Knick knacks that can make your carinderia homey. This will add to the ambiance and will sure instill the idea of a home-cooked meal.

6. Siomai

There have been tons of siomai stands that popped out for the past year. The demand for siomai was truly phenomenal in the Philippines. For the part of the consumer, the siomai can be a viand (ulam) and a snack. While for the business owner, they can earn in terms of pieces or set. There are different varieties for a siomai food stall. It could be steamed or fried, could be served with rice, and it could be served with chili sauce, calamansi, or soy sauce.

The target market for siomai is usually students because of its affordability. You could serve it with rice at a good budget-friendly cost. It is usually a win-win for both the business owner and the consumer.

Again, plan a good location for your siomai stall. You can found other siomai stalls near schools and universities, inside train stations and even at a food court. Since they are very budget friendly but filling on the stomach, try to offer drinks to go with it or maybe deserts. Just make sure to keep your stall clean and have a good garbage disposal.

7. Coffee and Frappes

The Philippines only has two seasons, it’s either hot or cold. So both options for drinks will still be profitable. You can see coffee shops stacked and full in the afternoons until evenings. They are often the place to go to hang out, chill or maybe meet a client. Filipinos love their coffee, and while most of them prefer it hot, there is a market that prefers it cold. There are also ice-based drinks like frappes that are in demand for young adults who wants to relax, study or maybe finish a report.

Other coffee drinks like latte or cappuccino require an expensive machine but make up for its ingredients. The trick here is to buy a coffee machine that can both steam milk and brew coffee. Next, layer your drinks. To make a cappuccino you will only need a shot of espresso (₱20-30) then steam milk (₱20-30), layer them in a cup, add a touch of design then tadaah! Your investment of 40 pesos can be sold for 100-120 pesos. It’s that profitable!

However, you still have to plan the overall experience in your coffee shop. Its ambiance, location, a skilled barista, coffee recipes, and branding.

8. Cakes

This falls under baking too, but having a specialty cake store is always profitable. People will always have a reason to celebrate with cake. Every day, someone out there is having a birthday. Every day, someone is getting married. You could offer customized cake and cupcakes services for events and special occasions. A cake is somewhat a staple in every celebration. Just look at Red Ribbon, they always have someone buying a cake. This is how profitable cakes are. You could also offer desserts along with your cakes and cupcakes, like revel bars, chocolate dipped doughnut, brownies, lemon bars, caramel bars, banana loaf, pies. The more the variety, the better. There are even liquor chocolate cakes and yema cakes that gives a good competition against all-time favorite cakes like chocolate and mango cakes.

The best part is that you can work from home. Use social media sites like Facebook. Create a page then post your cakes there. Run your ads so people will be informed of your delicious homemade cakes. You can have your cakes pre-ordered if you still have not found a good location. Just look for a good delivery service that will surely delivery your cakes in the best condition. Also, you will need to arrange for your baking station. Make sure you buy the right tools to bake your goodies. Here’s an idea of the tools you will need:

  • Oven
  • Measuring Spoon and Cups
  • Rubber Spatula
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Pastry Brush
  • Ruler
  • Dough Mixer
  • Baking Pans
  • Rolling Pin
  • Timer
  • Thermometer
  • Cooling Rack

Food business can be fun, especially when you see people praising you on social media or recommends you to friends and family. However, remember that sanitation is a must. Also, make sure you have arranged your business permits so you won’t run into trouble soon. Add different flavors to your menu and offer limited-time products so people will be engaged to buy from you. Do not forget to advertise your brand daily on social media so that you can gain more customers. Have fun and good luck!

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