Jollibee Is One Busy Bee As It Buzzes Towards Expansion

After taking a big hit during the pandemic (like pretty much everyone else), Jollibee is looking to open up an ambitious 450 new locations this year while also looking for company acquisitions along the way. With a 11.5 billion peso (around $240k) loss last year, the first annual loss it's reported in three decades, the chain is looking to make a comeback, Bloomberg reports.

Jollibee closed 486 stores during 2020, but it also opened new ones, for a net loss of 147 stores in 2020. But the company still had more than 5,800 outlets open in 33 markets across the globe last year. That's not just a lot of bees, but a giant swarm of them.

Jollibee's CEO Ernesto Tanmantiong told Bloomberg in an interview that "there are opportunities coming out of the pandemic. We are constantly assessing these opportunities." To counter the business challenges of the virus, Jollibee has spent quite a bit on delivery upgrades and online sales. The 'Bee is also looking into purchasing more brands; in 2019, the company purchased The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf for $350 million. Other brand purchases may be in the works too, Tanmantiong said, "except that at this time we cannot reveal them yet because we're doing proper due diligence and assessment."

About 80% of Jollibee's new locations will be split among China, North America, and Southeast Asia, and the Philippines-based company is forecasting that 50% of its sales will come from abroad. By 2022, Tanmantiong anticipates that earnings will be back to pre-pandemic levels, and that Jollibee will double its sales in four to five years. That is one busy bee!