Specializing in multi-brand business development and real estate management, Michelle Alino has grown with Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC) since 2003. Starting straight out of university, she accelerated through multiple roles—from an assistant in real estate departments in the Philippines, to her current position as real estate head of their JFC North America Philippine Brands operations – Jollibee, Red Ribbon and Chowking. When Michelle took the helm at the firm’s North America headquarters in Los Angeles, California in 2017, Jollibee operated 39 stores across the U.S. and Canada. Under her leadership, that number nearly doubled within three years, ending 2020 with 60 stores. Currently, the company is projecting to end 2021 with 87 stores. Jollibee North America is aiming to hit 300 stores by 2024, a growth rate of nearly 700% from 2017.
As one of the fastest-growing Asian restaurant companies in the world, JFC operates in 36 countries, with over 5,800 stores globally. It has 8 wholly-owned brands (Jollibee, Chowking, Greenwich, Red Ribbon, Mang Inasal, Yonghe King, Hong Zhuang Yuan, Smashburger), 3 franchised brands (Burger King and Panda Express in the Philippines, Dunkin' Donuts in certain territories in China), 80% ownership of The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, and 60% ownership in the SuperFoods Group, which owns Highlands Coffee and PHO24 brands. In the United States, JFC operates six brands - Jollibee, Red Ribbon, Chowking, Smashburger, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and a business venture with award-winning chef, Rick Bayless for Tortazo.
Jollibee North America has experienced historical and unprecedented consecutive double-digit store network growth year-over-year, starting from 23% in 2019, 22% in 2020, and with sites already secured for 2021, they’ll grow 45% their network from last year – its greatest number of new store openings in one year. Reporting an average unit volume of $3.5M, Jollibee currently owns 60 stores across North America with an additional 4 new stores as of early March this year—in the US: Washington, California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Virginia, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, and Hawaii, and in Canada, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario. “Also, as part of our strategy for brand exposure and dominance, we secured flagship locations at the center of key cities in North America,” Michelle explains. These downtown locations include 7th Avenue in Los Angeles, Market Street in San Francisco, Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Times Square in Manhattan, Yonge St in Toronto, and Granville, Vancouver.
As real estate head of JFC North America Philippine brands, Michelle focuses on the strategic expansion of new stores as well as the entire portfolio—generating significant contributions to financial targets from new stores and builds brands through leadership positioning. “We work with a location-based software company called Tetrad, whose systems provide demographic information and other services, and have partnered with Birchwood Resultant, who provides us with customized real estate models,” Michelle explains. “While they help to target the most valuable sites and to make better business decisions, Michelle makes sure the company has the right broker partners and legal team to help obtain them, partnering with Starr Finely in the U.S. and with Minded Gross in Canada.
Michelle credits her success to having an ownership mindset in everything she does, to setting goals that will achieve win-win outcomes, and most especially to her resilient and hardworking team. She not only believes in valuing quality over quantity, but also in fostering long-term relationships with all who do business with JFC. “I strive to espouse our JFC values especially integrity, when building trust with landlords and external partners, so they are confident to partner with us. I also encourage my team members to uphold those same values, so we can all celebrate hitting our financial targets and making our partners happy,” says Michelle.
Real Estate Head of North America
Jollibee Foods Corporation
Los Angeles, California
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