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Jollibee Group banks on robot baristas to further lift sales

Ralf Rivas

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Jollibee Group banks on robot baristas to further lift sales
The Jollibee Group beats its profit targets in the first quarter of 2024 and plans to grow its drinks business through DrinkBot machines

MANILA, Philippines – Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC) exceeded its financial targets in the first quarter of 2024, and it hopes to keep the momentum through its latest investment: robots that can make drinks.

On Tuesday, May 14, JFC chief executive officer Ernesto Tanmantiong said they exceeded their profit outlook for the first quarter, with revenues growing by 11.3% to P61.3 billion and net income jumping by 23.4% to P2.7 billion.

“Our healthy top line growth combined with further operational efficiencies and effective management of expenses drove expansion of the Jollibee Group’s profit margins,” Tanmantiong said.

System-wide sales grew by 10.4%, with both the Philippine and international markets delivering growth in double digits. The Jollibee brand grew ahead of the Jollibee Group at 15.8%.

Jollibee Group’s chief financial officer Richard Shin said the group is “slightly ahead” of its target growth rates.

Shin highlighted that JFC’s $28-million investment in Botrista, a company that developed a robotic drinks solution, will help existing stores get an “instant sales lift.” Its investment represents a 10% stake.

Botrista’s DrinkBots offer a wide range of craft beverages, including infused teas, lattes, flavored lemonades, energy drinks, and iced tea.

Founded in 2017, Botrista has a patented blending technology and algorithmic dispensing technology that can customize drinks quickly, making it an ideal device for busy restaurants.

Shin said investing in Botrista “provides commercial and strategic synergies” with JFC’s coffee and tea brands, and provides an opportunity to “grow exponentially” its coffee and tea segment.

“Through Botrista’s DrinkBot machines, we’d be able to increase our distribution footprint in the important US market, at zero to minimal capital expenditure, as well as deliver superior commercial returns. Our existing stores can subscribe to DrinkBots and get instant sales lift,” added Shin. – Rappler.com

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.