Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Smashburger brands 'profitable' by 2021: JFC

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 25 2020 06:00 AM | Updated as of Jul 25 2020 03:54 PM

MANILA - Jollibee Foods Corp chairman Tony Tan Caktiong said Friday the group's brands Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf as well as Smashburger could be profitable by 2021 as "improvements" are being implemented.

Plans for the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf brand is "on track" despite the coronavirus pandemic, Tan Caktiong said during JFC's first virtual stockholders meeting.

The country's largest fast-food chain operator acquired CBTL in 2019. 

Its back-office has been relocated in the Philippines while its leadership team is being "strengthened," the Jollibee founder said.

"All these initiatives will drive profitability and sales... we expect Coffee Bean's performance to improve by the fourth quarter of this year and become profitable by next year 2021," he said. 

"In the long-term, we are very bullish in the coffee category as we foresee that demand will continue to significantly grow," he added.

There is also synergy between CBTL and JFC's own coffee brand Highlands Coffee, which is the current "dominant market leader" in Vietnam.

Another recent acquisition is the US-burger chain Smashburger, which has been "performing well" before the COVID-19 pandemic, Tan Caktiong said.

Same store sales growth was in the "positive" territory in January and February this year, noting improvements have been implemented since the full take over such as enhanced product taste, adjustments in pricing and serving size to provide better value. 

New stores will be opened in prime locations such as Boston and in Manhattan, New York.

Dine-in options in all stores were shut during the coronavirus lockdowns, but losses were partially offset by delivery sales. Just like CBTL, Smashburger is likely to be profitable by 2021, he said.

The JFC group ended 2019 with 273 new stores in the Philippines and 224 new stores abroad, bringing its total network to 5,971.