PHILIPINES – Japanese multinational fast food restaurant Yoshinoya has announced plans to set up a US$2.7 million joint venture in the Philippines with local giant Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC).

According to a report by Nikkei Asia, the joint venture will see the two companies team up to open 50 branches of the famed Japanese beef bowl restaurant in the Philippines.

The joint venture which will become the franchisee of Yoshinoya comes after the company’s 20-year partnership with Century Pacific group ended recently.

“Jollibee will certainly have a significant positive impact on Yoshinoya’s business in the country, with its extensive consumer knowledge, operational focus, and presence in the Philippines,” said Yasutaka Kawamura, chief executive officer and president of Yoshinoya Holdings.

“This partnership presents us a great opportunity to increase the potential growth of Yoshinoya in the Philippines.”

Jollibee, founded by entrepreneur Tony Tan Caktiong from an ice cream shop in Manila in the 1970s, has either partnered with or purchased local and foreign fast-food companies over the past two decades as it aims to become one of the world’s largest quick-service restaurants.

Today, it has over 5,800 stores worldwide under over a dozen brands, including its eponymous burger chain.

Yoshinoya will however be Jollibee’s first Japanese food chain, joining its other brands Chowking, Greenwich, Red Ribbon, Mang Inasal, Burger King, PHO 24, and Panda Express.

Jollibee said Yoshinoya’s contribution to the group will “not be significant yet as it has very limited number of stores,” but noted huge opportunities in food delivery sales.

“Yoshinoya’s food, particularly its signature Gyudon beef bowl, holds very well for delivery,” Jollibee said.

Jollibee is aiming to have around 400 stores for its foreign franchised brands in the Philippines.

The addition of Yoshinoya will not only help it in achieving this goal but will help it foray into Japanese food, which has caught on the Philippines lately.

The announcement comes after the Tony Tan Caktiong-led firm released financial figures for 2020, which reveal Jollibee ended the year with ₱11.5 billion (about US$240 million) net loss as it deals with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Filipino company in a separate disclosure to the local bours also revealed that it has  closed down 486 stores worldwide last year in line with rationalization efforts due to the health crisis.

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