Tasted: Canada's Triple O's burger hits Manila

Posted at 06/23/2014 7:24 PM | Updated as of 06/24/2014 12:47 PM
Triple O's opened last week at SM Megamall. Photo by Vladimir Bunoan for ABS-CBNnews.com

MANILA – Triple O’s is the latest international burger franchise to open in Manila.

A spin-off from Canada’s White Spot restaurant, Triple O’s opened its first Philippine outlet at SM Megamall last Friday as it expanded its footprint in Asia, where it has branches in China, Hong Kong and Singapore.

While Filipinos continued to line up for a table at Tim Ho Wan at the mall’s ground floor, there weren’t that many customers when this writer checked out Triple O’s for late lunch last Saturday.

Located at the third level of the mall’s atrium beside Uncle Cheffy and Amici, Triple-O’s has a typical fast-food setup with a brightly lit counter greeting the customers. The dining area is also surprisingly small for an international franchise.

But the biggest surprise – shock may be more appropriate – is the price. An ordinary burger (without cheese) costs P200. Add P90 for a side order of fries and soda for a total combo price of P290.

Cheeseburger. Photo by Vladimir Bunoan for ABS-CBNnews.com

The cheeseburger combo costs P330, while the top-of-the-line Monty Mushroom Burger combo is priced at a hefty P400.

The eat-all-you-can merienda buffet of a popular restaurant in the same mall costs much less than that.

The premium pricing strategy is actually ironic, considering Triple O’s made tweaks to its menu to adjust to the Filipino market. For instance, the 3 Cheese Pasta (P175 for a la carte), which looks very much like a Pinoy spaghetti, is not listed on the menu posted in Triple O’s global website.

Ditto with the Buttermilk Chicken (P125 for one piece, a la carte), which suspiciously looks a lot like Jollibee’s Chickenjoy.

Buttermilk chicken with rice. Photo by Vladimir Bunoan for ABS-CBNnews.com

Meanwhile, the famous Canadian snack, the poutine, is not served in the Manila restaurant.

Triple O’s boasts of using in their burgers “100% Canadian beef,” “artisanal style” bun and secret sauce. The bun is soft and airy, with a light crisp on top, while the patty had a good structure, while the sauce was certainly flavorful.

But overall, it reminded me of McDonald’s Big 'N Tasty, which is a notch higher than the standard fast-food burger but nowhere near the so-called gourmet burgers in full-service, specialized burger restaurants.

Coming on the heels of Caliburger, which is similarly hobbled by a pricey image for a fast food outlet (P225 for a cheeseburger), Triple O’s may need to make more drastic tweaks, as other global players enter the Manila scene. Teddy’s Bigger Burgers from Hawaii, for one, is set to open in Greenbelt next month.