When the COVID-19 outbreak intensified into a pandemic last year, worldwide economies were battered by the reduction in commerce. One such sector that was left reeling by lesser numbers of customers was the food service industry. Safety protocols discouraged dining in, so some restaurants and fast-food establishments were left only with takeout pickup and delivery. Local fast-food giant Jollibee Foods is no exception to the belt-tightening, and far from reducing numbers, it is actually adding to them. One particular extra item JFC has is a Vietnamese fast-food chain specializing in Pho, or rice noodle soup.
The Philippine Star reports that this 2021 Jollibee Foods Corp. is planning to open at least three new branches of PHO24, a noodle fast-food chain originating from Vietnam. The country’s biggest fast-food company made the announcement Monday, January 25, and elaborates that those three PHO24 stores will be the first of a planned 100 that will be built and opened across the Philippines. The earliest to open among these upcoming PHO24 branches will be in Pasig City by next month. The Vietnamese chain was acquired in 2018 by Jollibee Foods subsidiary Fresh N’ Famous Foods Inc. In a way it is similar to another familiar FNFFI franchise since 2011: Chowking.
JFC Business Group head Joseph Tanbuntiong notes that the expansion of the PHO24 chain in the Philippines figures into long-term strategic growth plans for the fast-food giant, one that not even the pandemic can foil. Growing their footprint is necessary, seeing as during Q3 of 2020 Jollibee has been hit with a P1.58 billion net loss, all but wiping out the gains of P1.67 billion they made in net income for the same period in 2019. Year-to-date losses are at a staggering P13.54 billion, no thanks to COVID-19 scaring customers. Offering something new in the form of PHO24 might hopefully mitigate these losses thus far.
Image: Asian Banking & Finance