Franchise industry shifts to high optimism

Published October 5, 2020, 6:00 AM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Optimism in the domestic franchising sector has shifted to a high gear, according to a recent survey by the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA).

Dr. Carl Balita (Photo credit:

Dr. Carl Balita, chairman of the recent five-day Philippine Franchise Asia Virtual Conference,  said the PFA survey showed that 72 percent of participants had high to very high optimism before the conference started and shifted to 85 percent by the end of the conference. 

The mean score of optimism was 3.902 (almost high) in the beginning but shifted to 4.202 (above high) after the conference.  Using t-test, Balita concluded that there is a significant difference between two sets of data to prove an increased in optimism after the conference.  By this difference, it can be deduced that the conference contributed to this difference. 

The survey was conducted during the PFA’s Virtual Conference on September 21 to 25, 2020 which was attended by 730 participants, mostly from the franchise sector. The five-day conference had a wide array of topics covering all the essential areas of franchising and featured top resource persons from government, business in general and franchising in particular, mostly CEO’s and owners of prominent brands. 

PFA President Sherill Quintana (Photo credit:

PFA President Sherill Quintana opined that the collaborative and symbiotic nature of the franchisor-franchisee relationship may have mitigated the impact of the pandemic towards a more optimistic view. 

According to Quintana, the “big-brother” support of a franchisor, which is aimed at helping every franchisee to survive and thrive, was a big factor. “The success of a franchisee is a success of the franchisor as well,” said Quintana.            

Quintana also cited what International Franchise Association (IFA) Chairwoman Catherine Monson explained that franchising is so successful because of the power of the brand, systems, procedures, training, marketing, supply chain, strategic leadership, access to capital and more, which is referred to as a blueprint for success. 

Quintana also noted the heightened optimism after the conference may be attributed to their learning, which the participants indicated strongly in the evaluation. 

“Having heard the top CEO’s, international thought leaders, and government officials who willingly shared their pivot strategies and providing participants with their collective wisdom in navigating the crisis, the participants may have been not only been equipped but also inspired to envision a bright future ahead,” said Quintana. 

Filipinos are really optimistic.  In a study conducted by the Global Web Index, Philippines ranked highest (#1) in terms of concern about coronavirus (at 91 %) but has the second highest in optimism (75%), next to China (93%).  The study was conducted among 1,008 Filipinos ages 16 – 64 in March 16 to 20, 2020.  The Filipino respondents thought that COVID-19 outbreak will last for 6.2 months, and thought that in the Philippines it will last for 3.7 months.  

PFA Founder Dr. Samie Lim (Photo credit:

At the conference, PFA Founder Dr. Samie Lim also inspired the attendees to pivot to the golden age of franchising starting 2021 and peaking in 2025..

 “I believe that from the ashes of the mediocre and fake franchises,” Lim said, “will emerge a new breed of strong franchisor and franchisee to serve the pent-up demand of the consumer.” He added that during crises, the franchising sector was one of the first to recover.

Then he cited 4 main reasons why franchising is resilient enough to recover faster. These are increase of the number of potential franchisees, potential locations, new market opportunities, and new business opportunities in the new normal.

“The current situation presents franchisors great opportunities at an unprecedented scale because to expand your business through franchising, you will need 2 important key ingredients, namely, franchisees and locations,” he explained, “and we have the biggest number of qualified potential franchisees and widely available commercial spaces because of the pandemic.”