Philippine Business That Expats May Enjoy-Part 1


Above and beyond, if you plan to operate a business in the Philippines, you must have the proper Visa, you must have all your licenses and permits in order and currently valid. It is illegally for you to do otherwise.

Starting a Business

In the Western Visayas, where commercial rent and licenses cost less than in many locations in Luzon and in Cebu-Central Visayas, a neighborhood Bar & Grill may go over well. The key to this business is sound planning and implementation on all fronts.

I cringe whenever I read and hear this business advice…If you have never operated a business before, you will fail. Come on, now! Tell me one person who was born operating a business? Everyone had to start at some point of operating their own business. There are many success stories for first time business owners but honestly, there are more failed first time business owners.

To be successful, it is about planning, location, being innovative, staff hiring & training and managing your profit and loss.


For a Bar and Grill operator. Larger Menu Variety, larger Alcohol choices and better Service are very important. More Food, More Alcohol and Top Rate Service.


Excellent Theme, Decor, Furnishings and Atmosphere of your Bar & Grill can turn your place into a small Gold Mine.

As the operator of a Bar & Grill, once up and running, you do not have to spend 16 hours every day on site. However, you must be on site at some point everyday you are open for business. You can observe problems early on and have them corrected on the spot. There will be problems.


There are not many Bar & Grills that will be successful if you depend mostly on expats to keep your doors open. Your largest Market Base is Filipinos, so you must also cater to them. These days, more and more Filipinos are enjoying Western Cuisine but you must also have Filipino Cuisine available in your Bar & Grill.

Have a daily Happy Hour. An extended Happy Hour is best, say 1pm-5pm. Have a Daily Special on Food Items and have a different Daily Special each day of the week. Switch up the Daily Special every week and do not make, for example, every Tuesday…Meat Loaf and Mashed Potatoes. It is best to rotate your Daily Special on a monthly basis. It is not difficult to come up with 30 or 31 different Daily Specials every month.


Have a number of Draft Beer selections, sold by Mugs and Pitchers. Have a good variety of bottled Imported Beers and have all the Philippine Beers available, in the bottles. Have a well stocked full service bar and trained bartenders.

I have researched operating a Bar & Grill in the Philippines for over a decade. In Bacolod, I see Bar & Grill businesses come and go. I observed the flaws that put them out of business and I observed the positives as to why some are successful. I know a number of restaurant owners in Bacolod, both expats and Filipinos. I have talked to them many times about their business. I have actually made polite suggestions to them about improving their business. Some followed it and some did not.


Never, never, never have to use these words…Sorry, Out of Stock! If supply is short and a menu item is not available that day due to lack of acquiring imported ingredients, cover up the item on the menu with a small strip of black tape. If you are running low on anything that can be quickly locally sourced, send a staff member out to buy it, even if they have to buy it from a market or supermarket at retail prices.


Your Wait Staff, Bartenders and Kitchen Staff are the ones who will make or break your Bar & Grill. Do not hire relatives unless you have the fortitude to say to them…You’re fired!


Last but not least, the name of your Bar & Grill and your logo, will attract customers or drive customers away. Be original and be unique. Gary’s Bar and Grill is not unique and it is not an attraction. Banditos Bar & Grill is a good one!

I hope to see you one day, somewhere…all around Bacolod.

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

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One thought on “Philippine Business That Expats May Enjoy-Part 1

  1. You nailed it!

    When I am told that more than one item on the menu is “Out-Of-Stock” I politely say thank you and then walk out the door.

    Research and location are key elements. Those who overlook these important factors will be among the 85% of new business start ups that fail within the first year.

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