April 26, 2018 | 12:10 am
JOLLIBEE Foods Corp. (JFC) will be bringing is Vietnamese restaurant chain Pho 24 to the Philippines, the homegrown fastfood giant disclosed to the stock exchange on Wednesday.
The listed company said the expansion of the Vietnamese brand will be done through its wholly-owned unit, Fresh N’ Famous Foods, Inc. As the name suggests, Pho 24 serves Vietnamese noodle soup known as “pho,” as well as other traditional Vietnamese dishes.
Pho 24 forms part of the SuperFoods Group, JFC’s 60-40 joint venture with Viet Thai International Joint Stock Co. (VTI) through subsidiary, JSF Investments Pte. Ltd.
“(T)he SuperFoods Group aims to serve customers in Asia and key cities in the world with high quality and healthy Vietnamese food at affordable prices through the Pho 24 brands.
Aside from Pho 24, the SuperFoods Group also owns and operates the Highlands Coffee brand, as well as franchises Hard Rock Cafe in Vietnam, Macau, and Hong Kong.
JFC noted that it renovated all stores under the SuperFoods Group last year, as it shifted to a fast casual dining model instead of casual dining. The renovations allowed for faster ordering, product delivery, and cleaner store environments, according to the company.
At the end of 2017, the SuperFoods Group had a total of 281 stores under the Highlands Coffee, Pho 24, and other brands.
The move to expand the SuperFoods Group is in line with JFC’s commitment to take the company public in Vietnam by 2019.
JFC has also previously taken control of Denver-based burger chain Smashburger, which operates 352 stores in the United States, Costa Rica, Egypt, El Salvador, the United Kingdom, and Panama. This helped increase the company’s store network to over 4,000 worldwide.
In the Philippines, the company had a total of 2,895 as of the end of March under various brands such as Jollibee, Chowking, Greenwich, Red Ribbon, Mang Inasal, and Burger King.
In addition, the company has 943 stores overseas, under different brands such as Yonghe King, Hong Zhuang Yuan, Dunkin’ Donuts, Jollibee, Highlands Coffee, Hard Rock Cafe, and Pho 24.
The push toward more stores overseas is seen to help achieve JFC’s goal of seeing equal revenue contributions from local and international businesses by 2022.
JFC saw its net income attributable to the parent grow by 15% in 2017 to P7.089 billion, supported by a 15.6% uptick in revenues to P131.57 billion for the period.
This year, the company continues its aggressive store expansion as it rolls out P12 billion in capital spending.
Shares in JFC dipped P3.40 or 1.19% to close at P281.60 each at the stock exchange on Wednesday. — Arra B. Francia
*This article was published in Business World on April 26, 2018, and can also be found online at: http://bworldonline.com/jollibee-brings-vietnamese-chain-to-philippines/