By Arra B. Francia, Reporter
JOLLIBEE Foods Corp. (JFC) is putting up 500 stores globally this year while scouting for new acquisitions, in a bid to have an equal contribution in sales from the local and international segments by 2023.
Of the total store openings, around 250 to 300 will be located within the Philippines.
Next to the Philippines, JFC Chief Financial Officer Ysmael V. Baysa said Vietnam will have the most number of store openings, as the company is currently ramping up the expansion of its Highlands Coffee chain.
“We are very excited about Vietnam because the population is just like the Philippines and the potential for growth is even bigger. Because there’s a lot more growth to (cover). It’s a low base,” Mr. Baysa said in a briefing after the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Quezon City yesterday.
The target store openings will also allow the company to enter new markets such as the United Kingdom, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
JFC Founder and Chairman Tony Tan Caktiong said the first Jollibee store in Malaysia will be in the eastern city of Kota Kinabalu, noting the large population of Filipinos in the area.
Meanwhile, the Jollibee store to be opened in London in October will also be focused on the Filipino community.
By the end of 2018, Mr. Baysa said the company will have around 4,200 stores, compared to the 3,797 stores it had by 2017’s close.
The target store openings for 2018 is 7.5% higher than the 465 stores that JFC opened in 2017.
To support this store expansion, JFC has committed to spending P12 billion in capital expenditures this year, 33% higher than its spending in 2017. Of this, P7 billion will be allotted for new stores and renovations, while P5 billion will be for commissary investments.
The listed firm also remains on the lookout for potential acquisitions that will help grow its international store network.
“We always keep our eyes open… We tend to go around and keep on eating. One of our important criteria is that the food should really be good,” Mr. Tan Caktiong said.
One segment the company is looking at is Mexican food, citing the huge demand for the cuisine in the United States.
“We are still exploring. It can be acquisition of a company, can be joint venture. The Mexican market is so huge. We could start small then grow it,” JFC Chief Executive Officer Ernesto Tanmantiong said, adding there are already discussions but declined to disclose details.
JFC’s global expansion is in line with the company’s target to have a 50-50 contribution in sales from the local and overseas markets. Currently, the Philippine market accounts for 70% of the company’s total sales.
The company initially said it could reach the target by 2021 or 2022, but is now deferring the target to 2023 to 2025 since the local market is also rapidly expanding.
“We think that we need to grow the foreign businesses as well. Originally we thought we could do that at an earlier pace, except the Philippines grew so fast, so the base of the Philippines keeps growing,” Mr. Tanmantiong said.
Addressing questions on JFC’s supposed engagement of contractual workers, Mr. Tan Caktiong said: “There’s no more contractual, not only in the fast food category. I think in the whole Philippines there’s no more contractualization. The issue now is about outsourcing, on what kind of work can the company outsource…the trend globally now is outsourcing.”
The company said it is making sure that all the employees hired through service providers are authorized by the labor department.
Mr. Tan Caktiong added JFC is closely working with the Department of Labor and Employment regarding the list it released last April on the contractual status of around 6,000 workers in JFC.
Shares in JFC gained 1.31% or P3.40 to close at P263 each at the stock exchange on Friday.