Start Your Own Shawarma Business in the Philippines - The Thrifty Pinay

How to Start a Shawarma Business in the Philippines:

What do random streets, malls, and LRT stations have in common? A shawarma stall. As someone who grew up in the Middle East, I have always loved the authentic taste and the aroma of a good ol’ shawarma! Surprisingly, shawarma stalls are dotted in almost every area across the country. This Ottoman Empire-originating food is one of the most popular non-Filipino food in the Philippines, alongside takoyaki and siomai. It’s quite easy to understand how this food item swept the country off its feet. Here are the reasons for shawarma’s overarching popularity:

  • Filipinos loooove meat 
  • It’s a perfect mix of meaty, fatty, and healthy (if you consider those bits of veggies)
  • People can eat them on-the-go
  • Budget-friendly
  • It can either be a complete meal or a satisfying snack

In other words, set up a shawarma business strategically and you already have a captured audience. The question is: how exactly do you start a shawarma business in the Philippines? That’s what we’ll explore in this article.

Steps on How to Start a Shawarma Business in the Philippines

If you feel positive about starting a business, maybe a shawarma stall is the perfect startup for you. A shawarma business is like any other business— it requires a few key steps to ensure success. We’ll go over those steps below.

1. Perform a Market Analysis

Starting a business is all about solving problems. Your market has a pain or pleasure point, and you wish to satisfy these needs. Unless there is an actual need for shawarma in your locality, you’ll be wasting resources. Market analysis helps in determining the viability of your proposed business.

Market analysis, otherwise known as market research, is a process to help aspiring entrepreneurs discover their target market. In this analytic process, you obtain valuable information about your market’s interests, preferences, and opinions on shawarma.

Here are some questions you may want to ask your market before starting a shawarma business in the Philippines:

  • Who are your customers?

Demographics is one of the most important aspects that you must consider when starting a business. For example, based on my humble observation, shawarma is commonly popular among high school or college students and professionals. If you plan on starting a shawarma stall in a rural locality with neither of these people, it might be good to reconsider a shawarma business.

  • Who are your competitors?

In a business-centric country like the Philippines, there are bound to be competitors. Sometimes, the competition occurs within the same category. As I’ve said earlier, shawarma stalls are scattered across the country so you may not have your business cut out for you. It’s important to scout and determine who your competitors are.

  • What is a strategic location?

Your location is key to successful operation and business growth. If the location’s economy does not support a shawarma business, I’m afraid you’re not getting very far. Moreover, choosing an ideal location should be in close proximity to your ideal market. 

2. Assess Your Required Capital

Shawarma is a type of food cart business. Unlike other business models, the startup costs are less heavy than restaurants or karinderyas. However, understanding the costs will help you estimate how much profit you potentially make and enable a smoother launch. 

Assessing your capital begins with a market analysis. Depending on the result of your analysis, you may need to adjust your setup or change the business entirely. Always keep in mind that your capital is your business’s lifeline. The funds you have will be used to maintain the business’s operations, this includes:

  • Acquire materials required
  • Cover the possible construction costs
  • Pay the operational expenses
  • Fund the continuous production of food
  • Register your business with DTI and other governing bodies

3. Gather the Necessary Equipment

If you look at all the shawarma businesses there are, you’ll notice that every stall is occupied with stainless steel. The reason is simple: only stainless steel is robust, hygienic, and easy to clean. For quick businesses like shawarma, you need pieces of equipment that are easy to clean.

Here is a quick run-through of the equipment you’ll require for a shawarma business:

  • Shawarma grill (preferably the one electric-powered device that spins)
  • Electric griddle
  • Electric fryer
  • Press
  • Freezer
  • Scales
  • Chopping boards
  • Cheese graters
  • Sets of knives
  • Cleaning products:
    • Sanitizers
    • Cloths
    • Brushes
    • Chemicals
  • Storage hardware:
    • Shelves
    • Bins
    • Racks
  • Inventory consumables:
    • Sauces
    • Napkins
    • Shawarma wraps
    • Bags
    • Drinking cups

Here is a quick run-through of the ingredients you’ll need for a shawarma business:

  • Pita bread
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Pork
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • Cheese
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Mayonnaise
  • Ketchup

4. Look for Shawarma Suppliers in the Philippines

While the process looks sophisticated and complicated, Shawarma is easy to prepare. Moreover, the ingredients you require for a shawarma business in the Philippines are also quick to find. If you don’t have a franchise that regularly supplies your ingredients, you can often find them in your local wet market. Otherwise, here are some suppliers you may seek out for your ingredients:

(Note: always check the supplier’s legitimacy to avoid getting scammed and losing your budget)

Ingredient suppliers:

Kitchen equipment suppliers:

5. Evaluate your Product Costs (Pricing)

Serving delicious food is a non-negotiable for food cart businesses like shawarma. That’s precisely the reason why customers keep coming back to your store. However, selling strategic and competitive pricing is just as crucial. Unless the value proposition of your business is unrivaled, customers will be forced to choose the more affordable alternatives.

We offer a quick and easy pricing strategy for food businesses like shawarma. Here are the steps:

Step 1: List down the ingredients and actual quantity used per serving.

Step 2: Determine the price of each ingredient per serving.

Step 3: Calculate the selling price for each serving of shawarma. In this portion, you may either add a markup or use a desirable profit margin for your business.

We can easily describe shawarma businesses as restaurants. For restos, the most common food pricing tactic is the cost-plus pricing strategy. In other words, pool all the operational costs, employee wages, and utility bills. And then add a markup on all your servings that accounts for these things a.k.a. cost-per-plate.

6. Use a Good Marketing Strategy

Businesses nowadays are all about marketing and advertising. Don’t you notice? If you’re one to love food hopping and exploring restaurant chains, you can find every business on Facebook. In your shawarma startup, you may want to consider pursuing some marketing to etch your business in your market’s psyche. Here are some marketing tips to guide you:

  • Actively use social media outlets, most especially Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok. These are the most popular apps used in the Philippines. We recommend creating a page where you could promote your business separately from your personal account.
  • Set your stall up in Google My Business so you come up on Google searches. While this is grossly unpopular in the Philippines, it nevertheless provides your business the extra nudge it needs to remain relevant.
  • Never underestimate the divine power of word-of-mouth marketing. Create a local buzz that puts you at the forefront of your customer’s minds.

For a detailed list of the most effective tips on how to market and advertise your business online, check out our guide on the 20 Ways to Promote & Market Your Business in the Philippines.

Best Shawarma Franchises in the Philippines

Setting up your own business gives you that feeling of accomplishment. After all, establishing something from the ground up is not an easy feat, to begin with. However, there is undoubtedly more hassle in doing such and brand recall does not favor newbies in the industry.

On the other hand, seeking out and setting up a franchise may suit you better if you have the budget. First of all, these franchises already have an established name. This suggests a stronger brand recall or brand recognition. The only caveat is that the startup costs may be higher compared to starting your own business. In any case, both could work with enough patience, effort, and common sense. Here are the best shawarma franchises there is in the Philippines:

Turks 

Website: https://www.turks.ph/franchising/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/official.turks 

Email: marketing@turks.ph 

Number: N/A

Shawarma Shack

Website: https://www.shawarmashack.ph/franchising 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shawarmashackph 

Email: customer@shawarmashack.ph 

Number: N/A

Mashawrap

Website: N/A

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MSHWRPS  

Email: N/A 

Number: 0977 105 7731

Happy Shawarma

Website: N/A

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/happyshawarmaphilippines 

Email: marketing@turks.ph 

Number: 0977 219 8972

JM’s Shawarma

Website: http://www.jmshawarma.store/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jmshawarma 

Email: franchise.jmshawarma@gmail.com 

Number: 0921 489 4538

Khaleb Shawarma

Website: https://khalebshawarma.com/ 

Facebook: N/A

Email: N/A 

Number: N/A

Here’s the thing. Franchising is a quick and easy way to start a business, but it’s not free from flaws. There are some restrictive regulations, high startup costs, and not to mention the potential for conflicts. You don’t have complete brand control which may impede some entrepreneurs who value creativity. If these are okay with you, I suggest you do your due diligence in researching and finding more about your franchisor. 

Is A Shawarma Business Profitable in the Philippines

There’s no direct answer to this question because the truth is, it depends. Your market analysis will reveal the true story behind the potential of your planned shawarma business. However, with the right market conditions, availability of customers, and weak competition— I don’t see any reason for your shawarma business not to thrive.

Thanks for reading! If you want to learn more valuable content about business startups,

explore our other articles!


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How to Start a Shawarma 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.