Growth in partnership
Franchising has become one of the most common routes for Filipinos seeking for financial independence. And to find potential success in any franchise business venture, one of the most pertinent decisions to make would be choosing a trusted product — one that offers a profitable business model that you can trust and have passion about. This is what led to the success story of Lester Mark Yee, whose smart investment in a world-leading C-store brand has led him not only to entrepreneurial fulfilment but to a rewarding business journey.
The 38-year-old Antique native is one of the many pioneering and proud partners that led 7-Eleven’s milestone franchise expansion success in the South in 2012.
“We started our business partnership with 7-Eleven when Chevron Philippines Inc. (Caltex) tied up with Philippine Seven Corp. (PSC) to convert our minimart into a branded convenience store. The investment package offered to us as Caltex retailer is very enticing. It’s a total package (products, store design/layout, systems, marketing, among others) which is worth our investment and also complements our Caltex station,” Yee said.
“We are one of the first batch of stores that opened in Cebu in 2012, making us part of both 7-Eleven and PSC’s historic Cebu launching. I personally believe that 7-Eleven would mark in the heart of our Caltex customers in Cebu, considering that it will be the first in this area,” he added.
Committed in providing partners the best client servicing for them to develop into effective, well-rounded business managers, the 7-Eleven franchise package includes a one month preparatory training. Upon completion, Yee and his team were fully ready when they opened the company’s first 7-Eleven store, the Caltex NRA outlet in Mandaue City in July 2012.
“We learned the A to Z of store operation. As a company, we also aimed in becoming the best franchisee of 7-Eleven stores for the emerging markets in the Philippines, with God as the center of our business. We commit in providing customer needs and wants and making their daily life easier via modern convenience stores,” he shared.
Prior to franchising 7-Eleven outlets, Yee’s source of business savvy was his early training and exposure to the family business. His family owns and manages various businesses in Antique and Cebu under the ESPRUTINGKLE Group of Companies. Aside from being a certified public accountant, Yee says that being involved in the family business at an early age has helped him develop the skills and experience that greatly prepared him in running their C-stores.
Being the manager of a flagship outlet outside Luzon, Yee admits encountering challenges during their pilot operations. But with PSC’s guidance and all-out system support, Yee is proud to rise above the setbacks.
“There are areas for improvement since it is their first time outside Luzon, nevertheless our store ran successfully because of the collaboration of all the stakeholders (us, store team and PSC),” he said.
“We are confident and we feel secured with our investment with 7-Eleven because of the total package of the brand. Aside from a world-renowned name and highly successful franchise system, the c-store chain’s effective marketing techniques were built on years of successful global operations. Not to mention its profitability and market acceptability,” Yee added.
Now into four years as franchisee, Yee’s group now owns and manages a total of 23 stores across the entire islands of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao (Batangas, Cavite, Quezon, Laguna, Antique, Cebu, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Capiz and Misamis Oriental). Growing rapidly and successfully along with the venture, Yee says they are currently applying for more additional stores. “We apply for stores where there are PSC expansions because we want to grow across the country.”
Today, Yee said they employ a total of 191 staff excluding guards stationed at all the stores managed. “We have our own Trainer and Area Managers to oversee our entire operation because we don’t want to fail the commitment we made to PSC as our franchisor and most especially to our valued clients of our store. Also, we continue to groom potential employees from the OJT program partnership we have from schools,” he said.
Describing their operation as “a mini PSC set-up” considering they are operating inter islands, Yee says that he sees their staff as partners in this business, giving what are due to them plus other incentive programs like Performance bonus (profit sharing), Target Rating Incentives, Loyalty Travel Program and Value and Spiritual Formation (retreats).
“Also all of us who are part of this Esprutingkle-7-Eleven business apply the principle of Stewardship taking care of the Brand that is being entrusted to us. The Christian values and moral values of all the staff of the company contribute to success of the store operation and making our valued clients satisfied to the services and products we offer to them,” Yee said.
With such admirable success, Yee hopes to inspire upcoming entrepreneurs who want to join a franchise business. Conclusively, this is what he has to share: “One of the keys to success is having the passion for what you do. In this kind of business, it pays to have passion and commitment to what you sell or offer to consumers. Have an entrepreneurial mind, set attainable goals for yourself and the venture, and manage your expectations. More importantly, business is not just making money; believe in the brand that you have franchised and be a Good Steward of it. For us, we aim to continue growing with PSC, bringing 7-Eleven stores closer to our fellow countrymen.”
7-Eleven is offering suitable franchise partners a unique opportunity to benefit from a proven system and ongoing support. Apart from one-month preparatory training, partners are lent with assistance especially at the first crucial stages of operational transition, from supervising, basic HR coaching, to sales monitoring.
Potential franchise partners are offered the following flexible options: Regular New Store Franchise (open a new 7-Eleven store) or Property Conversion (convert an established business or properties into a 7-Eleven franchise).