LISTED restaurant operator Figaro Coffee Group, Inc. (FCG) said it has allocated close to P1 billion worth of capital expenditure (capex) budget for 2024, aiming to expand its presence with 400 stores across its brands within the next five years.

FCG Chairman Justin T. Liu said that at least P500 million of the capex budget will be used for store expansion across its brands.

“Within the next five years, hopefully, we aim to reach 400 stores,” Mr. Liu said on the sidelines of a media briefing last week.

He said that FCG aims for Angel’s Pizza to become the leading pizza brand in terms of store count and customer preference within the next five years.

“Hopefully within the next five years, we’ll be number one in customer preference and also store count. It is very challenging because our competitors are larger and heavier capitalized than us. It’s a very competitive market,” he said.

FCG currently has 207 stores consisting of 128 Angel’s Pizza branches, 65 Figaro Coffee branches, nine Tien Ma’s restaurants, four Café Portofino’s outlets, and one Koobideh Kebabs casual dining store.

The company is eyeing to open 70-80 new stores this year, of which half will be in Luzon.

Mr. Liu said that FCG is allocating more of its capex budget to the Angel’s Pizza brand since it is the company’s primary growth driver.

“That’s where a lot of the sales, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, and profit are coming from and also the growth potential. We’re allocating more of the capital to where the growth is,” he said.

“We will still see double-digit growth for 2024 compared to 2023 because we have a lot of stores which are still under construction and we are still growing our store count,” he added.

Despite inflationary pressures, Mr. Liu said that there are no scheduled price increases across FCG brands.

“I think we’re seeing more of inflationary risks and on the cost of goods. Our consumers are also getting more budget conscious because interest rates have been high last year. It is still quite high now. People are having challenges with their personal finances and this translates to some more budget conscious spending,” he said.

For the third quarter of its fiscal year ending in June, FCG saw a 5% jump in its net income to P105 million as revenue surged by 27% to P1.3 billion.

The company’s January to December 2023 net income rose by 84% to P480.38 million while revenue improved by 55% to P5 billion.

FCG shares were last traded on May 17 at 72 centavos per share. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave