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Jollibee invests $12.4 million in Mexican restaurant chain in US

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Jollibee Foods Corp. said it will be venturing into the Mexican restaurant business in the US through acquiring almost half of a Chicago-based Mexican restaurant.

In a disclosure to the Stock Exchange on Friday, Sept. 7, JFC’s wholly-owned Jollibee Foods Corp. (USA) has struck a partnership with American chef and restaurateur Rick Bayless, who specializes in Mexican cuisine, to pull off the venture.

The homegrown food chain has invested $12.4 million in Mr. Bayless’ Tortas Frontera LLC, acquiring 47% stake in the business.

“We have great admiration for Chef Rick Bayless for being a top chef, for being a successful restaurateur and for his philanthropic endeavors,” JFC Chairman Tony Tan Caktiong in the same disclosure said.




“Together with his organization and brand Tortas Frontera, we will build a significant business in the large and fast-growing Mexican food category in the United States,” he added.

JFC said that Mexican food, which is a very popular segment in the US, has reached an estimated sales of $40 billion to $45 billion in 2017.

Tortas Frontera currently has four branches in the US, three of which are at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport and one at The Arc in the University of Pennsylvania.

JFC, on the other hand, has 4,279 stores as of June 30, composed of various brands. Out of the total number of stores, 436 of these are in North America, with 349 under the Smashburger brand.

The listed firm reported a 23.2% increase in system-wide sales in the first half of 2018, likewise posted a 16.1% growth in net income in the first six months from a year ago. — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato