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Pizza, anyone? Maybe a hot dog?

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The other day I was at SM City here in Davao and saw something that got me thinking. It was not something new, something I had seen before in other places, but it sparked a thought in my mind.

I was walking around the mall and saw that there was a new (to me) business on the second floor. It was an S&R food-service place.

How to Move to the Philippines Manual

S&R is kind of the Philippine equivalent of Costco. They have been operating in the Philippines for years and opened a store in Davao City around five years ago. Many years ago, Costco had a partial ownership in S&R, but they sold off their percentage a long time ago, and as far as I know, it is now a fully own Filipino company. They still have an association with Costco, in that they carry the same merchandise, even the Costco private label, Kirkland Signature products are available at S&R.

Well, in addition to the product selection, the style of the stores, and such, they have another big similarity with Costco. They have a food-service area. You could buy things like pizza, churros, hot dogs (not the bright red nuclear-option hot dogs), hamburgers, basically the same food menu that Costco has in the United States. Frankly, the first time that I walked into an S&R store, I felt like I was stepping back in time and had entered a Costco store in the United States. I say stepping back in time because it had been so many years since I had been at a Costco store.

S&R Food Service in the Mall

S&R Food Service in the Mall

Well, about a year and a half ago, for the first time, I saw in a local mall that S&R had opened a food-service outlet at the mall. Anybody could buy, but if you had a membership, you would get a 5% discount. But, even non- S&R members could go in order food and enjoy their meal. I never thought too much about it. But, these S&R food-service outlets are now in every major mall in Davao City!

When I was in SM the other day, I was shocked at how large of an outlet they had there. One thing that did not shock me, though, was how full of customers it was. Every one of these S&R food outlets is always chock-full of customers.

It got me thinking. I’ll bet you that these food-service outlets really drive many people to sign up for a membership at S&R! Most people I talked to love the food at S&R food-service. Personally, it doesn’t excite me. Much of what they serve are things that I don’t eat anyway. But, almost everybody I talk to raves about the food there. With all of these nonmembers being able to try out I am sure that they must pick up new memberships due to that.

Back when I lived in the states, Costco was not doing anything like this at all. I did some web searching this morning, and could not find any information on the Internet about Costco doing this either. For readers, perhaps you can fill me in, does Costco have their food-service outlets in non-Costco locations? If not, I feel that this would be an avenue of great growth for them. Interesting that a Filipino company would (I suppose) come up with this fantastic idea to grow the business. Even if they are not picking up a ton of new memberships, the volume of business at they are doing in these food outlets is huge. I have talked to other ex-pats around the Philippines, and S&R seems to have these type of outlets all around the country now.

Anyway, as is something a little different, something that I do not believe membership stores have outside the Philippines. If you know differently, please let me know. As I thought about this, I just felt that it was a fantastic idea, sort of outside the box as well.

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Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.

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Jeff Kelton
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Jeff Kelton

Bob, To the best of my knowledge, Costco does not have any food service outlets outside of their warehouse locations in the US, or at least in Washington State where I live. I am a long time Costco member, and think I would have received many advertisements regarding off site food services. I also did a little Googling and did not find anything.

Bob Martin
Guest

I have also heard from others that Costco is not doing this. Frankly, I think it is a brilliant marketing move, and I know that S^R is bringing in big money, because these places are always packed.

americanlola
Guest

I don’t think Costco in the US needs more customers, actually! They are always packed, and have other perks, like cash back from their company credit cards and their cheaper gasoline is also a perk that gets a lot of members. Non-members can buy food at stores where the food service is outside the store, like in California, where the weather is nice all year. But bulk pricing, cheap gas (and free samples) are a bigger draw than the food service, for Americans. The kind of foods they serve are not really so unique, just cheap and convenient. Since S&R… Read more »

Bob Martin
Guest

I agree, AmericanLola, except one thing… every business always wants more customers, no matter how big they are!

I also get the pizza sometimes and eat only the toppings.. throw out (or give away) the crust. Good for low carb that way!

americanlola
Guest

Ha! I am sure that is true! And yes, I can always find a kid at home who wants my ‘naked’ pizza!

Bob Martin
Guest

One of my kids will take it, no doubt. LOL

Paul Robertson
Guest
Paul Robertson

Thanks to your site I learned about S&R. Went there last night and loved it. We bought a few things but will hit it hard before going back home to Bislig City in a few days.

Bob Martin
Guest

Hi Paul.. always happy to help!

XingR
Guest

Interesting. Here in the Metro Manila area, I’ve been told that SM refused to partner with S&R a few years back, when S&R started rolling their food outlets into other companies malls. I don’t know how accurate my info is but I don’t believe there are any S&R outlets in any SM properties in this area. Certainly plenty of S&R food locations in other big malls. and you’re right, they are always doing good business from what I have seen. I find the food pretty insipid and the variety limited, but my tastes are overruled by the “thundering herd” of… Read more »

Bob Martin
Guest

Hi Dave, nice to hear from you. S&R Food Service is in every major mall in Davao now, including both SM Malls (SM City & SM Premier). They seem to be doing fantastic, and like you mentioned, in their warehouse location they have a huge area for food service seating, and it is usually full!

Alex
Guest
Alex

Their pizza is good. The rest of the store, not so much.

Bob Martin
Guest

I love the store… hate the pizza. LOL… All opinions welcome.

Bob New York
Guest
Bob New York

I never saw any Costco food outlets here in the New York area. I only went to the nearby Costco once on a free trial. Nice place but I don’t really need large quantities of many things that they offer. Nice place though and most likely good for family shopping. Late last year Robinsons opened a brand new mall in Iligan City. I only saw part of it and did not get to the food court area so I don’t know if there is an S & R food service there.

Bob Martin
Guest

Hi Bob. Probably S&R would not have a food service in Robinson’s mall in Iligan since they don’t have an S&R there. Maybe someday!

americanlola
Guest

No, I’m living in Iligan right now, and no S&R. In fact, no S&R food outlets in CDO where there is an S&R and LOTS of malls! After reading this article, I am wondering when that will happen! I am guessing Ayala’s Centrio Mall will be first, but who knows?

Bob Martin
Guest

I am sure it will happen soon at the CdO Malls. Those food outlets are always packed in!

John Skibo
Guest

I’ll have to look for one next time we are back there on vacation. Hadn’t seen one before, but my wife seems to stick to SM, so maybe that is why.

Also have never seen Costco food outside of a Costco location. Locally, in Cincinnati, they don’t need to drive more members. The sams club near me closed and now Costco is overflowing with traffic.

Bob Martin
Guest

Not sure where you are going in the Philippines when you are here. S&R is only in the major metro areas like Manila, Davao, Cebu and a few others.

John Skibo
Guest

Bob, We are usually in Trece Martires, Cavite or down in Palawan (PP or Bataraza)

Bob Martin
Guest

Hope you find one nearby!

AJ UK
Guest
AJ UK

Hi Bob

SM Lanang has an S&R food outlet on the 1st floor directly opposite the car park

They certainly have the best pizza and fried chicken in Davao, in my opinion.

Cheers

AJ UK

Bob Martin
Guest

Yep, I am aware! Our opinions differ, though, on the Pizza. LOL

Nice to hear from you, AJ.

Terry L Snyder
Guest

Hi Bob, no there is no Costco food services in any other place other than a Costco store. They do offer a lot for the money you pay, a subsidy, taking care of members. I liked S & R when I was in Davao and thought the same as you.

Bob Martin
Guest

Yep, no Costco Food Service in other locations… seems to be the consensus! I think it is a brilliant marketing decision for S&R!

garydadds
Guest

Here in the UK there are no food outlets outside the stores. There is a S&R pizza outlet in the Subic mall (ayala) the nearest S&R is about a 2 hour drive away. We always eat in Costco/S&R but I’d put their pizzas a poor 3rd behind Pizzahut and Shakeys, much cheaper though.

Bob Martin
Guest

Interesting, Gary. Thanks for sharing.

PapaDuck
Guest
PapaDuck

Bob,
We get a slice of pizza occasionally when we visit S&R. But We like to eat at Chili’s at Alabang Town Center which is nearby as they have pretty good Mexican Food and Burgers. We always like to get the already cooked turkey whenever we go if it is available. And they continue to have a pretty good selection of cheeses and deli meats. Have they improved the cheese selection down there in Davao?

Bob Martin
Guest

There are several places in Davao with great cheeses here. S&R has an OK selection, Swiss Deli is probably the best place for cheeses in town.

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