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Jollibee to open hundreds of new stores in ambitious worldwide push

Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC) has set its sights on growing its presence internationally – particularly in the US and China – as well as in the domestic market, to cement its position in the global fast-food industry.

The company shared its plans to expand its store network by 7 to 8 per cent by launching 700 to 750 owned and franchised local and international outlets before the end of the year.

US expansion

In the US, the company plans to increase its store count to 500 in the next five years, focusing on 30 cities with high disposable incomes. 

JFC CFO Richard Shin said the company has used the same data that other major quick-service restaurants such as KFC and Popeyes use to identify the 30 cities to open fried chicken stores.

“So we’ll start to fill in those locations because they had the highest disposable income as a percentage spent on our segment,” said Shin.

“I don’t know where we can end up regarding the number of states. But that process of 30 cities – and sometimes you have multiple cities in a state – that is probably the way we want to go.”

Jollibee currently has 100 stores in North America, with branches in 14 states. Its North American network consists of 72 company-owned stores in the US and 28 stores in Canada.

“From 14 states, the opportunity is to expand to other states that we currently are not in,” he added. “Our goal is to ensure that the menu is relevant for American consumers and ensure stronger box economics compared to our competition.”

Ambitious goals for China

Meanwhile, JFC plans to quadruple its store network in China within the same time frame. Currently operating more than 300 stores under three brands – Yonghe King, Tim Ho Wan, and Hong Zhuang Yuan – the company aims to penetrate the Chinese market deeper by expanding into tier-3, tier-4, and possibly tier-5 cities.

“The ambition is to quadruple the footprint in five years. The expansion is really about getting into more geographies,” said Shin.

Strengthening the home front

In the Philippines, JFC has set a target to open more than 100 stores this year. 

“Around the new stores, globally, I think it’s a similar split. We always think about 80 per cent international and 20 per cent in the Philippines. The 80-20 rule seems to work well for these 700 stores,” Shin explained.

Aside from expanding its geographical reach, JFC is also diversifying its portfolio.

Approximately a third of new stores slated to open this year will focus on the coffee and tea space, leveraging brands like Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (CBTL), Vietnam-founded Highlands Coffee, and Milksha, as the category provides “faster payback per store”.

“There are many more franchise opportunities because people look for quick paybacks. And then, with the balance of it, I think we will be skewing more towards our chicken category,” he concluded.

As a group, JFC is one of the largest Asian food service companies, with 18 brands in 33 countries. As at the end of February, its store network stood at 6902 stores worldwide – 3336 in the Philippines and 3566 abroad.

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