The exclusive franchisee of the McDonald’s brand in the Philippines plans to spend up to P2 billion for the rollout of at least 40 new stores this year, following the double-digit growth in sales the company booked in 2017.

In a statement issued Thursday, March 1, Golden Arches Development Corp. (GADC) said the capital spending will also cover other growth initiatives centered on customer experience, value, and convenience.

“We are confident that our expanded presence will also spur employment in our new areas of operations. By opening more new restaurants, we will be able to generate jobs and provide world-class training for thousands of young Filipinos. We also enhance economic activity in areas where we will be present,” GADC President and Chief Executive Officer Kenneth S. Yang said in a statement.

Last year, the company opened 52 new stores, piercing through new territories such as Antique, Sorsogon, Masbate, and San Francisco, Agusan del Sur. This brought the number of McDonald’s stores in the Philippines to more than 570, employing around 60,000 regular employees in the process.

The store openings pushed up the company’s system wide sales to P42.6 billion in 2017, 14% higher year-on-year. GADC further attributed the positive perfomance to innovations in its menu offerings and local store marketing activities.

The company noted that it also delivered a double-digit growth in earnings for the year, but did not disclose the actual figures. GADC previously reported that net income in 2016 stood at P1.2 billion, on the back of revenues worth P22.6 billion. — Arra B. Francia