There’s a new food outlet in town whose hotdogs are selling like, well, hotcakes. The outlet is called Ogie Doggie, and it’s owned by singer-songwriter and hotdog lover Ogie Alcasid. Alcasid opened his first cart in Market! Market! at the Global City last September, but he has since put up two more outlets at the Ali Mall in Cubao, Quezon City, and at the SM Southmall in Alabang. He seems to have found a winner.
Alcasid got the idea for Ogie Doggie during a break from a series of concerts in the United States last June, when he asked longtime friend and stage manager Epoy Isorena to join him in looking for a hotdog stand for a bite to eat. “Ang hilig mo sa hotdog,” Isorena had said. “Why don’t you put up a hotdog stand and call it Ogie Doggie?” That was exactly what his friend did. Once Alcasid got home, he started doing research by going around eating different brands of hotdog, and when he found what he liked, he knew he’d discovered his supplier. Next, he tasted different kinds of bread and decided on Gardenia. Then he agonized over whom to partner with-a crucial question, since his schedule was a killer-and on the advice of his road manager, Rey Llanaga, met with food specialist Bayon Autoseba and tapped him as his consultant. Another friend, Pepparoo and Dimsum and Dumplings owner Andrew Masigan, gave him a crash course on the ins and outs of the food business.
Alcasid’s having hosted corporate events for the Ayalas made his job of opening his first outlet much easier. He asked them for space in Glorietta in Makati, “But medyo puno na, so Ayala Corporation offered me a spot in Market! Market!” in Taguig.” When he checked it out, he found out he liked it, but he had to settle for a cart outside because he found the rent inside too high. When finally he opened for business, he had expected to gross P3,000 to P4,000 on his hotdogs and sausages on the first day, but he rang up P26,000 in sales. The next day, a Saturday, the cart brought in P16,000, and the following day, almost P30,000. (His record for the biggest one-day sales is P34,000.) In less than a month, Alcasid recouped his P200,000 investment.
Though his sausages are relatively high-priced-P70 for a Polish sausage, and P45 for a cheesedog-customers can’t seem to get enough of the goodies. (Two ladies who fell in line once said they’d been dying to try Alcasid’s sausages since hearing him plug his cart on a TV show.) And though he won’t tell where he buys his products from, Alcasid lets on that they’re not from a popular brand. “I don’t think my suppliers have made so many hotdogs in their lives until I became their client,” he says, smiling.
He plans to open four more carts in Metro Manila this year. Not surprisingly, he’s been getting franchising inquiries from places like Cebu and Batangas, but he feels he’s not ready to franchise-preferring to develop the brand first. “Potential franchisees have been approaching us, but we have to say we’re not ready yet,” he says. “I don’t want the headache that usually goes with having to deal with too many people and too many problems. I’m happy with the way things are going.”
As busy as he is, Alcasid is in constant communication with his manager and staff of 18. He’s trained them to push sausages when out of hotdogs, hotdogs-on-a-stick when out of bread, and to take care of customers and love their work. As delicious as his hotdogs and sausages may be, however, Alcasid’s Australia-based wife, Michelle Van Eimeren-Alcasid, a former Miss Universe candidate, and daughters Leila and Sarah have yet to taste them. “But Michelle knows the day-to-day goings on about everything and I send her a lot of pictures,” says Alcasid. “She’s very proud of me for pulling this off.” Indeed, it was Michelle who had prodded him to get into the business when other people were discouraging him from it. “Michelle had told me, ‘What if one day you’re old and gray, and you say to yourself, ‘I should have done it’? You’ll never know if you won’t try.’ I took her advice, and I’m glad I did.”
For franchise please call (02) 854-5897 or 855-7753