Bullish on the Bee
I know I’ve had an interesting career when I get excited about a news article announcing the merger of the Philippines biggest name in fast food with a California based coffee chain.
Why? Because I’ve trained business analysts from both companies and have some insights into how both of them work with their data.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Jollibee, it’s basically the Filipino McDonalds but with a lot of Filpino-centric fast food options and a much cuter mascot. They dominate their home market and they have expanded around the globle. Where ever your find significant pockets of Filipinos, you can find a Jollibee.
As for Coffee Bean (CBTL) its a California based coffee and tea chain that lives in the Starbuck’s shadow. The have a fairy random footprint and really aren’t the first coffee of choice anywhere I know of.
But for Jollibee it seems like a smart move to acquire Coffee Bean. A lot of CB locations are in malls and business hubs are off to the side and not front in center. They couldn’t compete with the Starbucks for the same floor space and that reality makes them mostly an after thought.
Plus there is nothing special about their menu. Nothing bad, but nothing great either. Plus they have an ever growing amount of competition in a market (coffee) that may be peaking as younger customers like alternatives like milk tea and pearl tea.
On the other hand, Jollibee is an absolute monster of a competitor. They dominate the lower end of the market. Adding CB gives them a presence in more higher end market places. In a lot of malls and business districts, Jollibee is either not present or stuck in the basement with the other fast food brands. But CB can be front in center right. If Jollibee infuses some cash into improving the location of the CB stores, it should be pretty successful.
Plus Jollibee’s marketing is one of the best in the business. They consistently product content that is heartwarming, enchanting and really works. And the bee, that is one of the most beloved mascots I have ever seen. Way better then a quasi creepy clown or a very outdated southern colonel. If they can get people feel the same way about a cup of CB coffee they do about a yumburger, that its a golden marraige.
One more thing, I always mention when I talk about Jollibee. I can 100% guarantee, that in any room full of Filipinos, there is one thing they have all done. No matter their age, income, education.. .they have all attended a birthday party at a Jollibee. If you think McDonalds is a pure representation of middle America, than times that by 10 and you get what Jollibee is to the Filipino.
Now that all just on the outisde. On the inside, Jollibee has spent a lot on its internal data processing and decision making. They have crushed McDo in the Philippines based on an old school model of overwhelming numbers. But since then, they have gotten smarter. I saw that in their analysts and the way they were using data to solve business problems. There success is multifaceted, but a key pieces of it is their business culture is much more data-centric than their competitors. They have a deep and wide ranging strategy to keep adding complementary pieces (they bought the Philppines Burger King franchise last year) to the brands they offer… now they have added another potential winner.
Expectedly, Jollibee’s stock took a dive the day after the announcement on the Philippines Stock Exchange. Short term mindset and conservative investors worry its a mistake to get into the coffee business and many are still waiting to see how the Burger King acquisition plays out. But not me. Based on what I’ve seen, inside and out, I think its a shrewd move.
I’m quite bullish on the bee.
Time to invest in some shares.
Dan Meyer heads Sonic Analytics, an analytics advocacy with offices in Manila, the San Francisco Bay Area and as of February 2019, Ocala, FL. With over 20 years in Big Data, Dan is one of the most sought-after public speakers in Asia and has recently begun offering public training seminars in the United States. Dan has also recently joined the Powerteam International family as a small business analytics resource speaker.
Sonic Analytics(www.sonicanalytics.com) brings big data analytics solutions like business intelligence, business dashboards and data storytelling to small and medium sized organizations looking to enhance their data-driven decision-making capabilities. We also advocate the use of analytics for civic responsibility through training, consulting and education.
As citizens of this great democracy, we need to look at the data (analytics), plan a course of action (strategy) and share our data-driven viewpoints (presentation). This approach to a data savvy work force starts in school. So, we started an internship program to empower our youth to use Analytics, plan Strategy and Present their insights… ASP!
When not training current and future analysts, you can find Dan championing the use of analytics to empower data-driven citizenship by volunteering his expertise with schools and non-profits dedicated to evidence-based social progress like Saint Leo University’s Women in Data + Science Program and the Data + Women of Tampa Meet Up Group.