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Cebu’s Bo Coffee Shop to Expand Nationwide

A Cebu-grown coffee chain has temporarily shelved plans to penetrate the international market as it directs attention to strengthening its logistical base and market expansion in the Philippines.

Steve Benitez, president and chief executive officer of Bo’s Coffee Club, said the firm has received several inquiries from interested investors but its direction in the short run is geared towards increasing its coffee chain with greater concentration in the Luzon area.

“We want to be strong locally first and international expansion will follow,” he said, adding that the company’s long-term goal though is to open an international outlet in the next two to three years.

Earlier, Benitez said the company was planning to open a branch in Dubai.

“When we talked about Dubai, we didn’t have any Manila office yet. We don’t want to go to Dubai half-baked,” said Bos Coffee Club business development manager Rene Bacolod.

Foreseeing the potential to grow their market in Luzon, particularly in Metro Manila, Benitez said, about five additional stores and an office will open in the area by the end of the year.

Bacolod said negotiations to set up presence in Tagaytay, Subic and Legaspi are in the process.

Benitez said Bo’s has already built a roasting plant in Manila to provide fresh roasted beans to its customers.

Another roasting plant and commissary will open in Cebu within the year, he added.

Benitez said newly roasted beans have to be shipped to the outlets within three days and must be consumed in two to three weeks to ensure the freshness of the beans, otherwise non-consumed items are immediately disposed.

As proof, he said, the roasted date is displayed in every Bo’s coffee bag.

Bo’s coffee beans are 90 per cent sourced locally from coffee plantations in Bukidnon, Cordillera, Benguet, Sultan Kudarat and the Mountain Provinces, among others.

The beans’ freshness and the need to set up a commissary were one of the main issues considered in the company’s plan to expand overseas, said Bacolod.

“We want our coffee to taste 100 per cent Filipino. That’s our edge,” he said.

Educating the Filipino market about purchasing fresh coffee beans is Bo’s advocacy, Benitez said.

It recently opened its newly franchised outlet located at the Sykes Asia building in Cebu City.

He said Bo’s has gained 75 to 80 per cent share of the market in Visayas and Mindanao.

The opening of three more coffee outlets two in Mandaue City and one in the southern part of Cebu Province this year will increase the market share, he added.

Benitez said most of Bo’s coffee shops in Cebu will undergo renovations. Bos has 33 branches nationwide, 16 of which are company-owned while 17 are franchised.

In Cebu, two stores are franchised, including the Sykes Asia branch and in iI building Asiatown IT Park, while nine outlets are managed by the company.

Benitez said Bos aims to hit 50 branches by 2008.

Bo’s has complementary ventures, including Triangle Fort Distribution Inc., the warehouse and delivery provider; Triangle Food Central Corp., the commissary unit; Coffee System Franchise Corp., its franchise arm; and Omni Triangle Resources Corp., its new business venture group.

source: Philippine News Agency

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