HOMEGROWN food giant Jollibee Foods Corp. (JFC) is expanding its footprint in Guam as it plans to have five stores in the US island territory in the next five years.

In a statement over the weekend, JFC said it plans to increase its presence in Guam following the opening its first store there last April which showed the strong demand for customers.

“As a growing business center and an island of incredible diversity and taste, Guam will make a great home for Jollibee…We are very excited to be here, and are looking forward to what lies in store as we grow to five stores over the next five years,” JFC Chief Executive Officer Ernesto Tanmantiong said in a statement.

The listed firm’s first store in Guam seats 205 people and is located across Micronesia Mall in Dededo, the island’s most populous village.

“As we grow our business in Guam, we are excited to contribute to the local economy through employment. In fact, 100% of our staff at our store in Guam are locals and permanent residents of Guam,” according to Dennis Flores, who sits as the JFC head of international business for Europe, Middle East, Asia, and Australia.

The Guam store marks JFC’s 38th store located in American states and territories, including New York, Florida, Texas, California, and Hawaii.

At the same time, the company is also looking to have 150 stores in the US and 100 stores in Canada in the next five years. It also has 50 stores planned for Europe, 25 of which will be located in the United Kingdom.

JFC’s international stores look to woo overseas Filipinos working in different parts of the world. It has also attracted local customers, particularly in its Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Manhattan stores.

The company said it will open at least 500 new stores this year, equally split between the Philippines and overseas locations. Most of the new international stores will be in Vietnam at 120, while 40 will be opened in North America.

JFC allotted P17.2 billion in capital expenditures to support this aggressive expansion and old store renovations.

Store count by the end of the first quarter stood at 4,543 across different brands such as Jollibee, Chowking, Greenwich, Red Ribbon, Mang Inasal, Burger King, and Pho24.

JFC posted a 14.7% drop in net income attributable to the parent to P1.54 billion in the first quarter of 2019, amid a 14.1% increase in revenues to P40.35 billion. The company was weighed down by the consolidation of recently acquired US burger chain Smashburger, as well as slower same-store sales growth due to high inflation for the period. — Arra B. Francia