• By Mar-Vic Cagurangan

Jollibee bares expansion plans; 4 new stores in the pipeline

The Philippine food giant Jollibee Foods Corp. officially inaugurated its flagship brand in Dededo on Saturday as it announced plans to open four more Jollibee stores on Guam within a timeframe of five years.

JFC president Dennis Flores said the second location will open “very soon,” however, he declined to elaborate. “We will announce details once we are ready,” he said in an interview.

The 250-seat Jollibee Guam opened on April 6 across Micronesia Mall, blending into the island's rapidly expanding fast-food landscape. Jollibee made its way back into the local market, more than 12 years after shutting down its Guam operation which Flores said was prompted by “economic downturn.”

“Judging by the reception that we have seen from the people of Guam, we are very positive that we can be successful this time,” Flores said. “I think one of the inspirations is that the partners we chose in Guam have been nothing but fantastic. They have been very supportive.”

The Guam franchise, held by Heavenly Foods Inc., is the 38th Jollibee outlet in the United States.

“As we grow our business in Guam, we are excited to contribute to the local economy through employments. In fact, 100 percent of our staff at the stores in Guam are locals and permanent residents of Guam,” Flores said.

While famous for its crispy Chickenjoy and sweet sauce-topped spaghetti, Jollibee also appeals to universal palate, Flores said. “In fact, here, a big percentage of our customers are actually non-Filipinos,” he said. “In Hong Kong and Singapore, more than 50 percent of our customers are non-Filipinos. Jollibee is not just a brand for Filipinos.”

Franceen Chua, Heavenly Foods manager, and Dennis Flores, JFC president speak to the media about JFC's future plans. Photo by Mar-Vic Cagurangan

“As a growing business center and a island of incredible diversity and taste, Guam will make a great home for Jollibee,” said Ernesto Tanmantiong, JFC chief executive officer, “The customers who keep coming back are truly heartwarming. We look forward to what lies in store as we grow to five stores over the next five years.”

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Eventually, Flores said, Jollibee Guam will add local dishes to its menu. “We’ve always had that plan in the future,” he said, “but right now we focus on bringing and offering our best-selling items.”

The opening weeks drew a volume of traffic that was larger than the company anticipated, creating a demand-supply gap at the store. “We did run out of some items but not our best selling items such as Chickenjoy and Jolly Spaghetti,” said Franceen Chua, general manager of Heavenly Foods. “That was a problem that we did not expect. We were surprised that people were lining up.”

With a market capitalization of around $5 billion, JFC controls more than half of the Philippines’ fast food industry. The company owns 14 brands with 4,300 restaurants around the world. Its Jollibee brand has over 1,300 locations and is the largest fast-food chain in the Philippines, operating a domestic network of over 1,000 stores.

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