Jollibee sees recovery by 2021 with value meals, deliveries

[MANILA] A multi-billion peso investment in digital and delivery platforms seems to be paying off for Jollibee Foods as cost-conscious diners shift to fast food during the pandemic and drive a recovery by 2021.

Sales and profit will likely return to 2019 levels by next year amid signs of improvement in markets like the US, China and the Philippines, chief executive officer Ernesto Tanmantiong said in a virtual stockholders' meeting on Friday.

By 2022, the Philippines' biggest fast-food company expects sales and profit to grow in line with its historical rate of 15 per cent per year, a pace that would see it doubling the size of its business every five years.

Delivery and take-out have offset the drop in dine-in customers, while food ordering platforms have boosted sales by anywhere between two to six times depending on the market, Mr Tanmantiong said. Jollibee also plans to expand and open new stores as rents fall in prime locations, anticipating that consumers will shift from fine and casual dining to fast food for better value meals.

Smashburger and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, acquisitions that weighed on the company's earnings last year, are on track to be profitable by 2021, chairman Tony Tan Caktiong said. Acquisitions are part of the growth strategy, and Jollibee remains open to new opportunities, he said.

BLOOMBERG