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JOLLIBEE FOODS: The sweet taste of success

Blue chips of the future

When bubbles burst, champagne and caviar are usually among the first consumer products to take a hit. But low-end, high-volume food and beverage retailing benefits. Everyone has to eat and, for most people, the more cheaply the better.

No other country has yet been able to match the resilience of the US fast-food eateries. Or has it? In Jollibee Foods, the Philippines - and perhaps Asia - might have found an answer to McDonald's. Not only does the local fast-food company have a much higher market share locally, it has also set up its first, and already successful, restaurant in California.

"Jollibee is one of only two or three examples in the world of a fast-food company that is able to compete with McDonald's," comments Annabelle Dychiao, head of research at HSBC Securities in Manila. "They have achieved this by providing a similar environment and a similar product, but one that is cheaper and more adapted to local tastes."

Tickling local taste buds

Like its American fast-food rivals, Jollibee sells hamburgers and French fries. But these account for only around one-third of the company's sales.

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