Down south in Iloilo city, he was once an obscure, down-to-earth businessman eking out a living. He’s nicknamed “lnJap,” the combined first syllables of his parents’ ethnic origins – father is “intsik” (Chinese), while mother is Japanese, both entrepreneurs. Instead of pursuing a business degree in college as desired by his parents, Sia took a course in architecture in college, but only to drop out later. Yes, he’s a school dropout. Apparently bored by the daily routine of going to and from school, Sia tried his luck in business, a decision that proved to be the turning point of his life and career path.
At 20, he tried his hand in running various businesses, ranging from family-owned hotel to the ubiquitous laundry and photo developing shops. Parking lot Like any typical Ilonggo, Sia liked to dine out. His favorite food was the fried chicken served by fastfood chains Jollibee and McDonald’s. But then, something was missing – the fried chicken looked and tasted too foreign, westernized.
It didn’t suit the taste buds of typical Ilonggos or Pinoys. Wanting to be different, Sia struck the idea of a homespun food outlet serving Filipino-style street fare in a restaurant-type setting.
He found an unoccupied 250 square meter spot in the parking lot of a popular mall in Iloilo city. That space became the birth place of the now popular Mang ‘nasal serving charcoal- broiled chicken with unlimited rice. It has since become a modern icon of the Ilonggo culinary culture. Parents To set his plans in motion, Sia spared no time and effort to borrow P2.
4 million as a start-up capital from his parents. Soon, Mang ‘nasal caught fire in the local food scene. It opened to business on Dec. 12, 2003.
Long queues of food habitu©s flocked to the resto, despite the ushrooming of similar establishment all over Iloilo city. With popularity of Mang ‘nasal surging not only in the city, but also in the neighboring regions, it was not surprising that many knocked on Sia’s doors applying for a franchise. But he was adamant in acceding to franchising. To Sia, it’s not unusual to witness huge crowds trying out a new resto in its first three months of operations. “After six months, you have a 50-50 chance of sustaining that crowd.
If after a year, they still keep going to you, you probably have a hit,” he recalls. It was an understatement. Franchising What drew the crowds of foodies to Mang ‘nasal was its charcoal-grilled chicken served with rice wrapped in a banana leaf. It was unique in the sense that it wasnt like anything on the menus of rivals McDonald, KFC or even Jollibee. The flavor was distinctively Filipino, as was the earthy d©cor with wooden tables, handmade paper lamps and walls painted in orange, green and yellow.
So popular that Mang ‘nasal soon ate up the market share of Jollibee and McDonald’s in the fried chicken segment. From that lone nook and cranny in a mall, Mang ‘nasal soon branched out to nearby ities and provinces largely aided by Sla’s decision to allow franchisees starting in 2005. Menus and sales In March 2012, Mang ‘nasal grew to a network of 433 restaurants all over the country, chalking up gross sales of close to PIO billion since it opened to business in 2003. To date, it has about 14,200 workers and a market value of P7 Billion.
Each store employs an average of 40 people. Despite the stiff competition in the grilled food business, Mang ‘nasal still blazed new trails in the fastfood market. Its secret recipe is the use local herbs and spices. Grilled chicken isn’t the only fare that Mang ‘nasal offers. In response to the fast- pork sinigang, batchoy, etc. Sensing that Mang ‘nasal was giving its competitors a run for their money, Jollibee owner Tony Tan Cak Tiong Just couldn’t bear seeing his flagship’s market dominance eroded by a new kid on the block.
Jollibee Rather than resort to the futility of beating Mang ‘nasal in the fastfood business, Jollibee instead took Sia’s company into its fold. Tan Cak Tiong shelled out a hefty Php2. 8 billion to acquire 70 percent equity in Sla’s flagship in 2010. Somehow, the deal cut short what could have been Mang ‘nasal’s long Journey to topple Jollibee from its position as the countrys number one fastfood chain. In no time, Mang ‘nasal has emerged as the second largest chain next to Jollibee, beating American multinational McDonald’s.
Apparently sentimental, Sia admitted that his sale of a majority stake in ‘nasal to Jollibee was “painful. ” In a letter to his “Mang ‘nasal Family,” expressed “deep sadness” like a “father parting with his child” as he handed over the care of the restaurant to the giant conglomerate. Though relegated as a minority shareholder, Sia still exercises a certain degree of managing Mang ‘nasal as part of the Jollibee’s overall management group. The youthful entrepreneur is not one who rests on his laurels.
With Mang Inasal safely entrenched in its niche in the highly competitive fastfood market, Sia has begun nurturing the growth of his new fastfood firm Deco’s, considered as the original batchoy resto. Never dreamed of From initial outlets in Iloilo city, Deco’s has already branched out to other parts of the country, including Metro Manila. Like the trailblazing Mang ‘nasal, Sia is bullish his latest venture will reach the zenith of success, given his tried, tested and proven recipe of entrepreneurship.
In 2011, the young Sia was recognized as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines for Entrepreneurship. No less than President Aquino handed the prestigious award in ceremonies at Malacanang Palace. Sia is also a recipient of the Urban Leadership Award from the Canadian Urban Institute for Entrepreneurship in 2010 and his “outstanding contributions” to the nhancement of the public realm and the quality of life in the Metro Iloilo-Guimaras For two years, from 2011 to 2012, Sia made it to the elite list of Us-based Forbes magazine as one of the 40 richest Filipinos.
With sales of Mang ‘nasal booming over the past years, his net worth has zoomed steadily, amounting to a mind-boggling P5. 8 billion as of last June. At age 35, Sia has earned the distinction as the Philippines’ youngest billionaire he never dreamed of. Mr. Edgar J. Sia, lnJap, II is the Founder of the Mang ‘nasal food chain. Mr. Sia serves as Chief Executive Officer of lnJap Investments, Inc. lnJap Land Corporation (DoubleDragon Properties Corp)and People’s Hotel Corporation.
Mr. Sia has been Board Advisor of Philippine Bank of Communications Inc. since August 29, 2012 and served as its Director from July 26, 2011 to August 29, 2012. He serves as Chairman of lnJap Investments, Inc. , lnJap Land Corporation and People’s Hotel Corporation. He serves as Director of Jollibee. He was awarded the Small Business Entrepreneur award in 2010 by the Ernst & Young for best demonstrating management excellence in a business with assets less than Php100 million.