Manila, Philippines – The clown can’t compete with the fat bee in the Philippines. McDonald’s has conceded that it can no longer ketchup with the enormous business success of Jollibee. In a surprise announcement during a press conference held at the Mall of Asia in Manila, Tony Tan Caktiong, the man behind Jollibee Foods, said that McDonald’s has agreed to merge with Jollibee. Effective immediately, all McDonald’s restaurants in the Philippines will become Jollibee. Customers will not find any of the McMenus since Jollibee has decided to sell only its own champ burgers, in addition to its Chicken Joy, spaghetti, rice meals and sweet desserts.
The merger stunned many local investors at the Manila Stock Exchange. The big question was: How can McDonald’s whose net worth is over $61 Billion be totally absorbed by Jollibee which is worth just over $1 Billion? “It’s clearly a case of David defeating Goliath,” exclaimed Jonjon San Pedro, a veteran investor.
Caktiong opened Jollibee Foods back in 1978 with two Manila ice cream parlors. Today, it has turned into the largest fast-food company in the country with numerous chains including Jollibee, Chow King, Greenwich Pizza, and more than 2,000 stores in the Philippines and 541 overseas. Furthermore, Jollibee Foods owns the Burger King franchise in the Philippines, with plans to expand to Singapore.
During the press conference, Caktiong also announced that all the remaining beef inventory of the now defunct McDonald’s will be distributed – free of charge – to small local restaurants to be used as ingredient for lumpia, the popular Filipino egg roll.
There is growing speculation that Jollibee is also considering to buy out all McDonald’s restaurants in selected U.S. cities with a large Filipino population, including Daly City, Vallejo, Los Angeles, Chicago and Jersey City.