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Jorge Wieneke unveils how SM’s backing propelled Tokyo Tempura

Jorge Wieneke, a co-founder of the popular Potato Corner franchise that originated at SM in 1992, found inspiration for his next venture, Tokyo Tempura, two decades later during a visit to a buffet’s tempura station.

In 2012, Wieneke transitioned into teaching, leveraging his real-life experience and Potato Corner’s success to become a faculty member at the Ateneo Center for Continuing Education. He taught courses such as restaurant management and retail site selection, aiming to share his entrepreneurial insights and inspire others.

Motivated by a tempura station experience where he observed the popularity of the dish, Wieneke set out to make tempura more affordable for everyday consumption. Drawing on his successful partnership with SM through Potato Corner, he established Tokyo Tempura with the retail giant’s support.

“Laking SM ako. I can even name all the entrances and exits in Megamall,” he jokes. “If you are an MSME in partnership with SM, you can feel their support. I was once that MSME. Yes, there are challenges, saan bang wala? But, you will grow with them,” Wieneke recalls.

Reflecting on his MSME journey, he emphasizes the challenges but acknowledges the growth experienced alongside SM’s support.

In collaboration with his son, Jorge Miguel, the first Tokyo Tempura store opened at SM Fairview in 2014. In less than a decade, Tokyo Tempura has expanded to over 100 stores, a success Wieneke attributes to the crucial partnership with SM, now elevated to the next level.

Wieneke serves on the board of directors of the Association of Filipino Franchisers Inc. (AFFI), which initiated AFFI Spaces X SM Supermalls. This project allows members to pitch to SM for retail spaces, reinforcing the belief that “once you’re in SM, you’ve made it.”

Wieneke champions SM’s unwavering support for MSMEs, emphasizing their pivotal role in the success of ventures like Tokyo Tempura.

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