When Baskin-Robbins opened in the Philippines last year, it presented a thrilling new alternative to the Filipino’s penchant for sweets—tempting customers with velvety textures, rich flavors and innovative, customized sundaes.
For its 70th anniversary this year, the ice cream brand is launching Cookie Sundaes made to your specifications. Your choice of ultracreamy ice cream scoops are wedged between hefty fudge cookies, infused with macadamia nuts, dark chocolate chunks or double fudge.
It’s a play of warm, comforting cookies and the refreshing coolness of ice cream. As if that weren’t enough, the Cookie Sundaes are smothered with hot fudge or caramel sauce, bits of candy, cookies, whipped cream and cherries.
A year after the brand’s launch here, Baskin-Robbins is touting the Philippines as one of its best-performing markets in the world. Michael Dargani, president of IceDream Inc., Baskin-Robbins’ exclusive franchise holder, explains that it’s a combination of branding, the quality of the product and the Filipino’s inclination toward American culture.
Sales in Bonifacio High Street, Greenbelt 5, Glorietta 5, TriNoma and Ayala Terraces Fairview have surpassed expectations. By early next year, Dargani is expecting earnings to double with new branches in Solenad Nuvali, Uptown Mall, SM Aura, SM North Edsa, SM South Mall and SM Cebu.
“There was a void of high-quality ice cream at an affordable price then. Since we started the business, more players have come into the market,” says Dargani.
The frozen-dessert market has expanded to include soft frozen yogurt and artisanal ice cream. Baskin-Robbins stays competitive by rolling out new offerings. Its September flavor of the month last year, Banana Split, was a hit. The classic mix of chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, whipped cream, nuts and sweet fruits teased the palate in one fell scoop.
Dargani’s favorite flavors happen to be the brand’s top sellers. Almond Jamoca Fudge has a perky coffee taste with the sweetness of mocha, nuts and chocolate ribbons. Chocolate Cookie Crackle, meanwhile, is an earthy blend of chocolate ice cream with cookie chunks.
The Chocolate Mousse Royale has the lightness of mousse, while the Chocolate Trilogy is a classic contrast of intense dark chocolate, creamy vanilla white chocolate and mild milk chocolate.
The Mint Chocolate Chip combines the coolness of mint with chocolate chips.
Other hit flavors
If you’re not into chocolate overload, the other hit flavors are Strawberry Cheesecake, which contains fluffy cake and fresh fruit; and the Macadamia Nuts and Cream, a diet buster of vanilla ice cream and chunky nuts.
They’re all affordably priced, starting at P85 for a modest junior scoop to P289 for the Cookie Sundae.
Dargani and his wife, Nameeta, who’s also marketing manager, were drawn into the business not only by a passion for ice cream but also a desire to serve the community. They organized a charity, “31 Smiles,” which raised funds for Operation Smile. This organization facilitates surgeries for indigent children with cleft palates or harelip.
Proceeds of the sales of any of Baskin-Robbins’ 31 flavors (representing each day of the month) and the stores’ promotions funded the operations of 31 patients.
At a conference of licensees and principals of Baskin-Robbins in Southeast Asia, Dargani touched the audiences’ hearts when he presented the Philippine program and how it synergized with the brand. The other countries made a donation that was good for two more operations.
“If you’re blessed with success, you don’t raise your standard of living but your standard of giving,” says Dargani.