A Business Model to Emulate | Sa MERZCI #TananManamit!
When Merzci started their bakeshop in 1995–they were not the first. It was simply named Merci because President and CEO Jonathan Manuel T. Lo wanted a French sounding name and a bakery business. So much has happened in between, but 23 years later, Merzci has become a brand to beat in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines.
The Success of Merzci
What has made Merzci into what it is today? Personally, I believe that it’s the indefatigable leadership of the president. He is bullish in his pursuits as well as stubborn in a good way. When he was still starting, many “well-meaning” individuals advised him with the intention to discourage the line of business that he wanted to pursue because of it was not “unique”.
- Read more about Jonathan Lo: Merzci CEO on Southwall Magazine
But he proved everybody wrong. Jonathan did not only make his enterprise successful, but he made it grow rapidly in less than five years, with the brand extending to different industries as well.
At present, Merzci is the name of four strong, inter-related yet individually standing strong businesses. These are:
- Merzci Pasalubong
- Merzci Bakeshop
- Merzci Purified Drinking Water
- Merzci Fast Food
Mind you, these are not unique businesses. These are not entirely new. He already had established and thriving competitors at that time. But Jonathan has proven that with determination and the right strategies, he could expand and also improve these business categories. And he rightfully did with flair, making his brand known throughout the country and giving jobs to almost two thousand people in the Negros island and even in Iloilo.
Top 10 Best Facts About Merzci
It’s the end of 2018 now and here are some well-established facts about Merzci.
1. 50+ Branches
Merzci now has a total of 54 branches with the breakdown, as follows:
- Negros Occidental – 44
- Negros Oriental – 3
- Panay – 7
The spirited team behind Merzci, under Jonathan’s leadership, is always on the lookout for viable locations to expand their business. They want to establish presence in every up and coming community in order to take advantage of the growing economic activity in the area.
2. Research and Development
Merzci is not just a fly by night operation. All their businesses and products undergo marketing research and product development. Jonathan insists on hiring only the best people based on their skills and how they can contribute to his vision for the company. He may be strict and exacting, but he does know how to drive people to do their best.
3. Work-Life Balance
Jonathan understands that all work and no play will make his staff dull. He recognizes people’s need for a balanced life of work and recreation so he also strives to give opportunities for his staff to make healthy life choices.
4. Strong Workforce
At present, Merzci has close to 2,000 workers in all their outlets, commissary, and Bacolod pasalubong plant. They have anywhere from store clerks, cashiers, bakers, packers, food techs, servers, cake decorators, pastry makers, managers, artists, as well as so many drivers, among others. Merzci employs everyone from top level management to rank and file. They have blessed so many families around the province with a reliable, steady, and fair source of income.
5. Continuous Learning
Merzci has set up their Learning Department. This department solely exists in order to coach people about continuous life and professional growth. Additionally, many employees also undergo training outside of the company when opportunities arise.
6. Dynamic Local Store Marketing
One of Merzci’s pride is their dynamic, creative, and organized local store marketing team. These are experienced professionals who work together to create and carry out the marketing plans of the company.
7. Aggressive Sales Department
Meanwhile, Merzci also has an aggressive sales force that caters to the requirements of the dealers, wholesalers, supermarkets, and special accounts around the country. They cover all the products carried by the Merzci brand.
8. Brand Strengthening Strategies
Merzci stays relevant to the times, using different media to strengthen its brand. They combine the force of traditional and online media, advertising and marketing campaigns, as well as PR efforts in order to cement their position in the local and national market.
If there is one lesson that we can glean from the Merzci story, that is to check our brand against the DTI and IPO list of business names because we will never know where our business will take us.
Their Biggest Challenge
Perhaps the greatest challenge that Merzci had to face in its entire existence was having to re-brand. From Merci, they became Merzci a few years ago because of intellectual property problems. For a business, that’s one of the biggest hurdles you need to overcome in order to survive.
Nevertheless, the company pursued and applied the necessary techniques to redeem itself. They even had to change their website name. But despite the setback, the name change made people talk about them more. The media and bloggers were abuzz with the news. It seems that the challenge became a blessing in disguise as Merzci became more popular.
9. Corporate Growth
Jonathan does not rest on his laurels. He continues to find ways to innovate and expand. He also finds the right people to work with him. This year, they opened the new Merzci pasalubong plant in Vista Alegre, Murcia. It’s a 4,000 square-meter facility that is dedicated to their food production. It is HACCP-ready and has facilities for educational and group tours.
In the near future, Merzci is also going to open Piaya Land — a Bacolod-owned theme park on a 1.5 hectare lot area.
10. Corporate Social Responsibility
As a firm believer of Jesus, Jonathan exercises his faith in good works. He is one of the most generous employers I have ever met. He also uses Merzci to help out the city government of Bacolod, movements, advocacy campaigns, churches, charity organizations, schools, and pretty much everything in between, whether in cash or in kind.
Moreover, he carries the banner of Bacolod tourism using their signature and bold hues of red and yellow, helping out in whatever way the company can in order to promote Bacolod City to the world.
And I believe, Jonathan is just reaping a harvest from what he has sown. He just keeps getting a bountiful harvest after harvest because he has also sown aplenty.
A Model Business
Merzci is indeed a model Bacolod business that is worthy to emulate. It has a holistic company approach to every aspect of their business, including the community. Jonathan shows us that you can effectively balance business with faith, family, and life in general and still look good at the end of the day. A balanced life of excellence in all aspects is what success is about and what matters the most.
Some Merzci Pasalubong Products
Read more about the different Bacolod Pasalubong products from Merzci. In all these, they strive to produce only the best ones and live up to their slogan #TananManamit (Everything’s good!)
Click on the product name below to read more about your favorite Bacolod pasalubong by Merzci:
Find Merzci the brand online: