PHL’s first Panda Express to open on Dec. 12

Panda Express e1575287218634 - PHL’s first Panda Express to open on Dec. 12PANDA EXPRESS is known for American-Chinese cuisine, such as Kung Pao Chicken, Orange Chicken and Broccoli Beef dishes. — COMPANY HANDOUT

JOLLIBEE Foods Corp. (JFC) is opening the Philippines’ first Panda Express store on Dec. 12 at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City.

In a statement on Monday, the listed fast food giant said the Panda Express store in the country will offer the same menu as those in the United States.

“This new and exciting dining destination is expected to draw families and local foodies for a taste of the celebrated Original Orange Chicken, wok-tossed crispy chicken in a sweet and spicy sauce,” the statement said, referring to Panda Express’ best-selling dishes.

JFC took a bet on the American brand when it signed a 50-50 joint venture with Panda Restaurant Group, Inc. last year, forming JBPX Foods, Inc. with an authorized capital stock of $5 million.

The local operator is supposed to open five Panda Express stores in the Philippines for the first phase of the partnership. Aside from SM Megamall, JFC has not announced other locations.

Panda Express is known for serving American-Chinese cuisine such as Kung Pao Chicken, Broccoli Beef and Asian Grilled Chicken. These dishes, JFC said, will be offered in Manila once the store opens.

Bringing the fast food brand to the country is part of JFC’s portfolio expansion plan, as it also bought The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (CBTL) for $350 million and signed a $13-million joint venture with Singapore’s Dim Sum Pte. Ltd. to bring the Tim Ho Wan brand to China.

Aside from Panda Express, CBTL and Tim Ho Wan, JFC controls Jollibee, Chowking, Greenwich, Red Ribbon, Mang Inasal, Burger King, PHO24, Yonghe King, Hong Zhuang Yuan, Dunkin’ Donuts, Highlands Coffee, Hard Rock Cafe and Smashburger.

JFC booked an attributable net income of P4.53 billion in the first nine months of the year, falling 26% from a year ago.

Shares in JFC at the stock exchange increased 5.90 points or 3.07% to P197.90 apiece on Monday. — Denise A. Valdez

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