How to Start a Siomai Business in the Philippines:

Siomai is one of Asia’s most popular snack options. Before being hailed as a kanto-favorite appetizer in the Philippines, the origins of Siomai predate even before Magellan stepped foot in the country. Shaomai, as the Chinese describe it, originated in Inner Mongolia somewhere between the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing dynasties (1644-1912) of China. It reached the land of the rising sun where the Japanese called the steamed ball of meaty goodness Shumai. Until it reached the Philippines and became the siomai we all know and love.

With centuries building up to siomai’s popularity, it’s no wonder Pinoys are itching to get a bite whenever they see a vendor. If you’re interested but wondering how to start a siomai business in the Philippines, you came to the right place.

Is a Siomai Business profitable in the Philippines?

Before delving into the steps, it’s important to know if siomai is a good business, to begin with. When talking about siomai’s profitability, we have to look at the context surrounding it. Street food is an unceasingly popular business in the Philippines despite countless cautionary warnings from health bodies. Street food vendors rarely get zeroed out as long as there are students, office workers around, and bystanders around. It’s typically the usual suspects when talking about street food: fishball, kikiam, squid ball, kwek kwek, and siomai. 

If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur on a budget, a siomai business is a perfect start. Why? Well, it’s simple but highly profitable. Heard of that broke couple turned rich thanks to their siomai business that grosses 50,000 daily? Siomai businesses require low capital but they’re capable of earning large profits. Always remember, as long as people eat, a food business will never run out of customers.

How to Start a Siomai Business in the Philippines

Here are the necessary steps when Starting a Siomai Business in the Philippines

1. Do some market research

Siomai businesses are great. But there’s a caveat to the success story I mentioned earlier. They first started with fishball, kikiam, and banana cue. Newsflash, all those start-ups failed. The reason is simple, they didn’t do initial market research. The siomai business they put up was a hit and miss. They lucked out with siomai that’s why they made a fortune. 

When starting a business, the last thing you want is to establish something that’s bound to fail. Sadly, many startups suffer the same fate. The success of your business relies on good market research to warrant the business’s potential. Siomai is a good business, no doubt. But does your potential market share the same proclivity for siomai as you do, or are you simply and blindly holding on to a hope that they are?

To get you started, here are some queries you might want to answer first for a siomai business in the Philippines:

  • Who are your target consumers?

Siomai is popular among office workers, students, internet cafe addicts, and bystanders. Is your location swarming with those people? Are they keen to eat quick siomai snacks over other options?

  • What are your target audience’s spending habits?

Do customers go out of their way to have some good siomai meals? Do they prefer siomai with sticks or with rice? Do prospects prefer meals delivered?

  • What does the market look like?

Will you sell in the city or the suburbs? Do you need a physical store, a stall, or are made-to-order meals acceptable enough?

  • Who are your competitors?

Are there existing siomai sellers in your locality? Is competing with them a good idea? What value proposition can you offer to make their suki choose your solutions instead? 

2. Prepare your capital

Capital is another reason why comprehensive market research is imperative when starting a siomai business in the Philippines. Think about it. If you require a physical store to etch your siomai brand in the locality, you’ll need more money to start with. The capital you’ll be using is the gasoline that’ll keep the business running. You’ll use it for funding the materials, expenses, and overhead. If you want a smoother launch, you need to calculate your startup costs. Doing so will also help you estimate your profitability and growth potential. This is where your market research is for.

Let me give you an example. Say, your market investigation reveals that made-to-order meals are better compared to setting up a physical stall. You will require less capital to start than having to shell out more funds for a stall that wouldn’t significantly sell better. Again, your business is anchored on good market research.

3. Plan and prepare everything

Information and data are used for one thing: to make the right decisions. With market research backing your decision-making process, you are likely to make the right choices and minimize errors.

For example, if setting up a stall is a better direction than made-to-order meals, there are things you need to be aware of:

  • First, your location. The location you choose should be strategic, where you can maximize impressions and conversions.
  • Second, physical stores can’t get away without a DTI business permit. Make sure you have your business registered.
  • Third, assess your operational costs or overhead. There’s more to business than your cost of goods sold, you’ll have utility bills, rent, and possibly labor costs that can sweep you off your feet.

Don’t be hasty to jump on the business seat. Plan everything first otherwise your “siomai” might turn to “oh my!”

4. Buy the equipment needed

Once you’ve got your gameplan fully furnished, then, only then, do you buy your equipment and ingredients. Here is a simple list to help you out:

Equipment:

  • Food steamer
  • Freezer
  • Tongs
  • Paper containers
  • Sauce dispenser 
  • Gas tank
  • Frying pan
  • Acrylic plastic juicer

Ingredients:

  • Ready-made siomai (unless you plan on making your own)
  • Soy sauce
  • Kalamansi
  • Chili
  • Garlic flakes
  • Gulaman
  • Water

Gulaman? Yes, that is, if you’re willing to offer some refreshing palamig to your suki which is an added income stream. Check out this gulaman recipe here.

5. Find suppliers

Selling siomai in the Philippines is quite straightforward. The ingredients and equipment you need are not difficult to find. If you live anywhere in the Metro, you can easily scour Divisoria to find all things you need at a bargain. If not, you can always visit your local supermarket or wet markets to buy them.

If you want to get all things you need from the comfort of your home, there are online marketplaces to buy your things. Shops like NegosyoNow sells both food and non-food items like packaging materials. While stores like MK Kitchen may sell the kitchen supplies you need for the siomai business. Otherwise, you can seek popular siomai chains instead that provide all the things you need after your initial payment.

6. Price your products right

The cornerstone of every successful food business is not ONLY the quality of the product but also the price. All things being equal, Filipinos will normally gravitate toward the most affordable option. If you have a competitor, you may want to double down on the quality and pricing strategy. That will ensure you corner the market for your siomai business.

A popular pricing strategy you may want to try is the cost-plus pricing strategy. Basically, your products should account for all operational expenses and overhead costs associated with selling the siomai. This way, all your markup will be allocated towards profits. Needless to say, be reasonable with your profit margin.

7. Marketing is key

In this age of the internet, more than half of the population is engaged in social media. The only way to dominate your industry is by getting a leg-up on your competition. Take advantage of facebook’s free platform to promote your business to friends and colleagues. You can also use the messaging app to reach out and seek people who are keen to try out your food products. If you plan on opening a physical store, register your siomai shop to Google My Business. This will ensure that you stay ahead of your competition through local SEO.

If you’re looking for a full list on how to promote and market your siomai business effectively, check out our guide on 20 Ways to Promote & Market Your Business in the Philippines.

Best Siomai Suppliers in the Philippines

If you’re looking for the best suppliers to get siomai ingredients and equipment, on-site visitation is always the best course of action. However, if it can’t be helped, here are some online resources you can visit. Always make sure to legit check these suppliers to avoid getting scammed.

Kitchen equipment suppliers

Siomai suppliers:

Packaging suppliers

How to Start a Siomai Business in the Philippines

Best Siomai Franchises in the Philippines

Below are some of the best siomai franchises you can reach out to if you plan on setting up your own siomai business in the Philippines. Make sure to read reviews and check references before fully committing to fully assess what you’re getting into.

  1. Master Siomai

Phone Number: 287095288

Website: http://www.mastersiomai.com/ 

  1. Siomai King

Email: jcwfranchising.tycoon@gmail.com 

Phone number: 0923 604 8805

Website: https://jcfranchiseinternational.com/ 

  1. Ideal Siomai

Email: charlottemaecaragay@gmail.com 

Phone number: 0935 336 2107

  1. Siomai House Bernabest

Email: emailus@siomai.house

Phone number: 287096237

Website: https://www.siomai.house/ 

  1. Dimsum Factory

Phone number: 284424884

Website: http://shop.dimsumfactory.ph/ 

Siomai business is one of the best low-cost, high-profit startups you can put up in the Philippines. However, there are many overlying layers that you need to accomplish first before startup. Furthermore, you if you plan to try selling other frozen food, check out our article on How to Start a Frozen Food Business in the Philippines. We hope this article helped you if you plan on starting your own siomai business in the Philippines.


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How to Start a Siomai Business in the Philippines

By Ameena Rey-Franc

Recognized as one of the Top Finance Blogs in the PH. Ameena Rey-Franc (founder of TTP) is a former Banker and BS Accountancy graduate turned Blogger, Keynote Speaker, and entrepreneur. Currently an RFP delegate, she is also the Author of a book about Financial Resilience and has held seminars for reputable companies like GrabFoodPH, Pru Life UK, VISA, JPMorgan Chase& Co., Paypal, Fundline, Moneymax, and many more. The Thrifty Pinay's mission is to empower women to LEARN, EARN, and be FINANCIALLY-INDEPENDENT no matter what life stage they are in.