Above Sea Level PH, a young seafood restaurant with seven company-owned branches and over 120 franchisees in Metro Manila, has seen the tremendous growth of its brand through franchising in just a year.
“It’s too early to tell, but yes, we are aiming to be the first seafood fastfood chain in the Philippines,” said Above Sea Level franchise manager Mark Vidal.
Polsan Pangidian and Winna Baldonado, the restaurant’s co-owners, did not expect Above Sea Level PH to become this big at this point. They are getting a lot of offers and proposals from potential franchisees from the Visayas, Mindanao and even outside the Philippines.
“To name a few countries who are asking if we wanted to try the international market, we have Guam, Canada, and Australia,” said Vidal.
The story behind the success of the business started when the couple had a kid and thought about trying their luck as overseas Filipino workers in Dubai. “Above Sea Level started in January of 2017 at a food park in The Yard, Pasig. They are underground and then six months after, June of 2017, we started the franchise business and that’s where it all started and the reason why Above Sea Level is now this big,” said Vidal.
Two months before the flight of the couple for Dubai, they were hanging out at The Yard when they saw an opportunity to start a business in an empty-space. Because of the owners’ love for food parks and seafood, they decided to change their plan and invested roughly P200,000 of their pocket money in their dream business.
“The owners love to eat at food parks, and they love seafood that much,” said Vidal.
Six months after they started the business, they consulted some friends about the franchising model. These friends guided them on how to start a franchising business, and the rest is history.
Above Sea Level PH is now popular for its giant butterfly squid picture that has gained 250,000 likes for over a week in a Facebook post. With the post, people and franchisees got curious about their restaurant.
Above Sea Level PH claims to be the only restaurant offering this type of ‘standing squid’ presentation, firecracker shrimp, bacon-wrapped shrimp and seafood festival.
“First of all, competitors can’t imitate our ‘standing squid’ presentation. Second, they can’t steal it and imitate it because our products are registered with the Intellectual Property of the Philippines. And lastly, they can’t beat the taste, and the tenderness of our products because of our secret recipe,” said Vidal.
The restaurant became popular not only because of its viral giant butterfly squid picture. Customers even from the Muslim community are coming back because of the food’s taste as well as the budget-friendly prices of the unique products on their menu. The chain is also committed to keep its food free from preservatives.
“Our company is different because we take care of our people, and maybe 95 percent of our staff are all relatives from the owners’ both sides,” Vidal said.
“If you want a business that can have ROI easily, you should try Above Sea Level. And if you want a stable business, you really should try Above Sea Level,” said Vidal.
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