Greenwich General Manager Albert C. Cuadrante has only been four months in his post, but has been with Jollibee Foods Corporation since 2008. Specifically, he was Marketing Director of Red Ribbon Bakeshop for about a year and half, then became Vice President for Marketing of Jollibee Foods Corporation for three and a half years, before taking on the country's biggest and favorite pizza chain.
A graduate of B.S. Management Engineering from Ateneo de Manila University, Cuadrante has also been Director at Acumen Strategic Consulting, Inc., a marketing and brand consultancy firm, since 1999. And he has up his sleeve 15 years of teaching experience as a faculty member of his alma mater, handling Marketing and Advertising Management courses.
Here are the driven 41-year-old's thoughts on his new role, what he's bringing in as a marketing and advertising expert in the food industry, and where he plans to take Greenwich while he's at the helm.
Business Agenda: What accounted for the move from Jollibee to Greenwich, and how do you feel about it?
Albert Cuadrante: It was actually a promotion. But I call it job broadening. The Greenwich team is a young and dynamic group; here I'm one of the oldest, whereas I was one of the younger ones in Jollibee. It's always good to take on a business that's doing well. It's a group you can do so much with. We remain focused on growing in terms of network, number of stores and product innovations. I am happy with the move on one hand. On the other, there's a bit of pressure not to disappoint their expression of confidence.
BA: What key learnings are you bringing in from Jollibee and Red Ribbon?
Cuadrante: Jollibee was very, very heavy in terms of product innovation last year, when we launched at least 15 new products. I may have driven the people nuts. You discover that the possibilities with food is just endless and boundless.
What the experience with Red Ribbon can bring is a legitimate line of desserts for Greenwich. Right now, we don't have a real dessert, and we're looking at both cold and savory desserts to introduce, desserts that are good to have after eating a pizza. Research and Development willing, we will be able to offer them by next year.
BA: Greenwich is a Franchise Excellence Award Hall of Fame awardee. Would you say any Greenwich franchise is bound for success no matter what?
Cuadrante:For the past two years, business has been very, very good; I think we've gotten the formula right. What will make a franchise successful is the consistency by which we're able to deliver. We go around and audit our stores every month for every franchise-for food, service and overall condition of the store.
BA: Greenwich's advertising campaigns have won Tambuli Awards and Araw Awards and really stand out for being fun and entertaining. How do you plan to keep up the success in this area?
Cuadrante: Ads need to continue to be relevant. The use of talents is not mandatory, it's a strategy. We have to be very, very close to our customers to know what's relevant to them. We conduct surveys.
BA: As a former Ateneo professor of Marketing and Advertising Management, what things did you make sure to emphasize to your students?
Cuadrante: First is to always listen to the consumer. I'm a big advocate of use of insights in advertising. There are really no shortcuts to that except to talk to people. As much as possible, have regular interface with your consumers.
Second, always keep up with local and global trends. Competition is so intense, and there are so many choices...you have to be able to identify the concepts well in advance.
BA: As General Manager, what are your plans and dreams for Greenwich in the next three to five years?
Cuadrante: For me, it's the thrust of expansion, to bring Greenwich closer and closer to as many people. When I went around and made provincial visits, I saw so many opportunities still. People in the provinces are not eating out as much yet. There are also international franchise requests, so that's in our horizon. But before that, I want to make sure Philippine business is stable enough to support such an expansion.
BA: What are the pros and cons of being your age in the job you have?
Cuadrante: I don't consider myself old. It's a real advantage because at this age, I don't have dietary restrictions, and have the energy to do stuff. The disadvantage is the amount of quality time you can spend with the family-I have two boys, age nine and 11. The challenge is you want to try to squeeze in as much time as you can for the family.
BA: Name two people you admire greatly and why.
Cuadrante: One is Steve Jobs, because of his being able to marry creativity and make a big business out of it. He didn't see his work as work, and made tons of money. As for me, I always find something creative and interesting about what I do so that work doesn't feel like working.
A second person is Pope Francis. We have to give him a lot of props for going against the grain and for sticking to his principles. He is a very simple person and simplicity is good.
BA: Finally, what are your favorite Greenwich products?
Cuadrante: The 7 Cheese Overload Pizza, because I really, really like cheese. And the Spaghetti Supreme, because I personally don't like thick noodles. I eat Greenwich food at least three times a week.