What do malls, bus stations, schools and even hospitals in the Philippines have in common? A Potato Corner kiosk, of course.
It’s hard to miss the tiny food cart, with its bright green logo featuring a smiling spud — as well as what is usually a long queue of French fry-hungry customers.
Now, Filipinos in the UAE, a 600,000-strong community, are in for a treat as Potato Corner officially announces its first franchise in the country.
The new outpost opens on Wednesday at Ibn Battuta Mall in Dubai, joining a host of other Filipino brands present there, including the beloved fast food chain Jollibee.
“Whenever I ask Filipinos what flavoured fries they miss the most, the majority of them often say Potato Corner. That is why I explored how we can bring the Philippines’ most popular brand here in the UAE,” says Filipino entrepreneur and restaurateur Rolly Brucales, who owns the Dubai franchise.
It’s been a long journey for the Filipino favourite which opened its first outlet in 1992. Since then, the brand has built a cult following, propelling it to launch its franchise scheme the following year.
The brand is known for serving French fries in a cup (or a bucket), in flavours such as barbecue, cheese and sour cream, but also imaginative ones such as wasabi, chocolate, kimchi or adobo, a popular Filipino dish.
In 2007, Potato Corner opened its first international outpost in Malaysia. It heavily marketed its franchise business, calling franchisees — who are typically small-time entrepreneurs — “Spudstrepreneurs”.
Its network hit around 500 stores by 2015, eventually including the US, Australia and Panama. To date, nearly 80 per cent of Potato Corner stores around the world are owned and operated by franchisees.
The new Dubai outpost is its 1,389th. However, it's not the first in the Middle East, as the brand is already present in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.