| Philippines

JFC eyes cold beverage sales lift following Botrista investment

The Manila-based foodservice group invested $28m in US automated cold coffee and tea concept Botrista Inc. earlier this year and expects its DrinkBot machines to boost sales across its 2,250 coffee and tea chain stores globally

Botrista’s DrinkBot machines can produce up to 120 drinks per hour | Photo credit: Botrista


Jollibee Food Corp (JFC) has expects its coffee and tea chains to enjoy an ‘instant sales lift’ by using Botrista’s automated beverage DrinkBot machines. 

The Manila-based foodservice group, which owns the Highlands Coffee, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (CBTL) and Milksha brands, invested $28m for a 10% stake in US automated coffee and tea concept Botrista Inc. in March 2024.

In commentary accompanying its first quarter results, JFC Chief Financial Officer Richard Shin said the investment will provide ‘commercial and strategic synergies’ for its coffee and tea brands. 

Botrista’s automated DrinkBot machines, which can hold enough ingredients for 300 servings and produce up to 120 cold and blended drinks per hour, will also enable JFC to increase its distribution footprint in its key US growth market ‘at zero to minimal capital expenditure’ and provide a platform for its existing stores to immediately boost sales. 

California-based Botrista holds more than 100 patents globally for its DrinkBot concept, which is designed for coffee shops, restaurants and hospitality businesses seeking to add bubble teas, smoothies, iced coffee and flavoured lemonades to their menus.  

Outlet growth for JFC’s coffee and tea chains was significantly slower in the three months ending 31 March 2024 compared to the previous quarter. The foodservice group added just three Highlands Coffee stores and a single CBTL outlet during the period, compared to 54 Highland Coffee stores and 32 CBTL outlets during the previous three months.  

JFC currently operates 782 Highlands Coffee sites across Vietnam and the Philippines and 1,165 CBTL stores across 26 markets. 

However, JFC did expand its bubble tea chain footprint by nine stores during the first quarter to reach 319 Milksha outlets. 

Milksha also posted 8.7% like-for-like sales growth during the period, compared to 2% for CBTL and a 9% decline for Highlands Coffee. JFC’s first quarter group revenues increased 10% year-on-year to P86.8bn ($1.5bn), driven by 5.5% like-for-like sales growth. 

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