Published:  03:02 AM, 14 September 2019 Last Update: 03:04 AM, 14 September 2019

Jollibee hungry to expand in US, China

Jollibee hungry to expand in US, China Ernesto Tanmantiong (R), President and CEO of Jollibee Foods Corp, and CFO Ysmael Baysa, pose for a picture outside a Jollibee branch in Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines, July 30, this year. -Reuters

Jollibee Foods Corp, the Philippine fast food specialist known for fried 'Chickenjoy' and chopped hotdogs in sweet spaghetti sauce, is doubling down on expansion plans in the United States and China that are likely to include more M&A.

Helped by the purchase of California-based Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in July and having taken full control of Denver-based Smashburger in 2018, it wants to earn 30% of its revenue in the United States in a decade's time, executives told Reuters.

It is also aiming to lift revenue in China to 30% of overall sales, while the Philippines would fall to 30%.  That would represent a major rejig of revenue streams for Jollibee, which ranks No. 4 among Asia's listed quick service restaurant firms, and would build upon plans to cut its reliance on its domestic market to 50% of sales in the "medium term".

Prior to its acquisition of Coffee Bean, the Philippines accounted for 73% of sales while the United States represented 15% and China 12%.

"We want to spread our portfolio and risk," Jollibee CEO Ernesto Tanmantiong said in an interview. "There's huge opportunity out there."  Jollibee, which is valued at $4.8 billion and has 16 brands or franchises to its name, aims to have six brands each in the United States and China, just as it does in the Philippines.

In the US market, it currently has five including its namesake Jollibee restaurant chain and a minority investment in Tortas Frontera, run by Michelin-starred chef Rick Bayless and which offers Mexican-inspired sandwiches at just three outlets in Chicago's O'Hare airport.

It has three brands in China - the Dunkin Donuts franchise, as well as the Yonghe King noodle and Hong Zhuang Yuan congee restaurant chains.


--Reuters, Manila

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