MANILA - Jollibee Foods Corp on Friday said it has entered into a venture with award-winning Chef Rick Bayless and his Tortas Frontera brand to build a Mexican fast-casual business in the United States.
In a letter to the stock exchange, JFC said it would invest $12.4 million for 47 percent membership interests in Tortas Frontera business founded by Bayless.
JFC said its subsidiary Jollibee Foods Corporation (USA) closed the transaction on Dec. 21, as it sought to expand its presence in North America, the country's largest restaurant operator said.
Jollibee with Tortas Frontera will build "a significant business" in the fast-growing Mexican food category in the United States. The Mexican food industry in the US had an estimated sales of $40 to $45 billion in 2017, the company said.
"This venture is very much in line with JFC’s mission: to serve great tasting food and spread the joy of eating to everyone," the statement said.
Jollibee confirmed in July that it was looking to acquire a Mexican brand in the US to challenge the world's top fast food operators.
Tortas Frontera has 4 restaurants in the US while Jollibee, which recently took full ownership of US burger chain Smashburger, operates a total of 3,079 restaurant outlets in the Philippines.