The COVID pandemic has been one of the greatest life- and lifestyle-changing events to ever happen in the recent history of the world and humanity. And in the face of these altered lifestyles – restrictions or prohibitions on dining inside establishments depending on current state of infection, for instance – many businesses found it necessary to change their operations as well, or suffer significant losses in earnings from reduced customers. The Philippines’ biggest fast-food conglomerate, Jollibee Foods Corporation, has already admitted to being heavily affected by the COVID-caused slump since 2020. Still, while their present condition is a far cry from pre-2020, they are reporting some recovery.

As the Philippine Star has it, Jollibee Foods announced on Wednesday, August 11, that their ‘business transformation” strategy has slowly but surely enabled their fast-food chain profits to climb steadily back from its pandemic slump that began a year ago. In their report, for the first half of 2021 they had a net income of about P1.1 billion, which compared to net losses suffered during the same time period in year 2020, was welcome news indeed. And with the P1-billion net income from the months of April until June, profits have only been getting better.

Two factors could be accounted for in JFC’s profit recovery. First is the aforementioned business transformation, wherein the company spent several billion pesos to expand its delivery services, and the more drastic resort of closing fast-food branches that underperformed. The second factor is the now-international coverage of Jollibee Foods – 33 countries with 17 different franchise brands – as some areas like the US and Middle East had sustained recovery to cover for the lower or reversed sales growth in other territories like China and Southeast Asia. To wit, JFC feels confident enough to fully acquire Titan Dining, with its Michelin-star-awarded Tim Ho Wan dim sum brand.

That said, it is plain that Jollibee Foods has yet to return to the glory days of before the pandemic. The 2021 figures are a pale shadow compared to the 2019 figures. The first half net income of this year is a disheartening 54.9% lower than two years ago, and system-wide sales over the same time period is 13.5% less in 2021 than in 2019.

Image: Channel News Asia