Corporate News

Bo’s Coffee in talks to open offshore outlets

Posted on March 16, 2013

CEBU CITY -- Homegrown coffee shop Bo’s Coffee has set its sights on the Middle East and Southeast Asia while preparing to expand its domestic network to 100 branches in five years.

Bo’s Coffee eyes the Middle East and Asia even as it plans more Philippine outlets. --
Steve D. Benitez, president and chief executive officer of Bo’s Coffee operator Coffee Centrale, The Bean Co., Inc., said he would like to open their first overseas outlet this year.

Talks are being conducted with potential partners in Saudi Arabia and Dubai, who approached Coffee Centrale first. Mr. Benitez said they plan to issue a country license to the right partner.

The company is also scouting for potential partners in Southeast Asia.

“If I had a choice, I would like to expand first to the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), like in Indonesia or Singapore,” Mr. Benitez told reporters after the Young Entrepreneurs Group Asia Pacific forum that is part of the ongoing 27th Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI) Conference here.

Regarding its local plans, Coffee Centrale plans to open 40 more Bo’s Coffee outlets over the next five years to bring its branch network to 100. Sixty percent of these new outlets would be company-owned while the rest would be franchised.

“We’re targeting about 10 (new outlets) a year, starting next year,” Mr. Benitez said. There are 60 Bo’s Coffee outlets nationwide at presently, including 25 franchised outlets. Bo’s Coffee started franchising in 2001.

Mr. Benitez also said Bo’s Coffee is pushing for higher domestic production of coffee beans to bridge the yawning supply-demand gap. Coffee manufacturers and shops in the country currently consume between 75,000 and 80,000 tons of Arabica and Robusta coffee beans. Local coffee growers produce only about 30,000 tons a year.

“If supply can’t be met, we’ll be forced to source our coffee beans outside (the country). But we’ll always blend with Philippine coffee,” he said.

Mr. Benitez said the private sector-led Philippine Coffee Board, Inc. is implementing a road map aimed at increasing coffee production and achieving self-sufficiency in coffee by 2020. Among the new production areas being eyed is Mt. Kanlaon in Negros Occidental, where 15,000-30,000 seedlings are being readied for planting.

“They did the groundwork last year and they might start planting this year,” Mr. Benitez said. -- Marites S. Villamor