Citing business losses amid a fragile economy, the company operating the Jollibee restaurants on Saipan yesterday confirmed the closure of their Chalan Kanoa outlet beginning July 1.
YCO Corp., Jollibee’s franchise holder on Saipan, said sales of the Chalan Kanoa restaurant dropped to alarming levels, prompting the management to decide on the closure in early June.
YCO general manager Ralph Yumul said the restaurant was supposed to shut down operations on June 15, but the company eventually decided to extend operations to June 30.
“What we did is temporarily shut it down,” said Yumul, who added, however, that “we have no plans yet to reopen it.”
Yumul said the management projected a downtrend in sales. He refused to divulge the amount of losses incurred by the restaurant.
“From the business standpoint, the island is not stable. It has a very unpredictable economy,” he said. “Our present economy can either switch from bad to worse, from worse to bad, and bad to better.”
The general manager said only one part-time employee got laid off. He said six other employees were transferred to Jollibee’s main branch in Garapan, while three others were absorbed by YCO’s holding companies.
Besides the Jollibee restaurants, YCO owns the Liberty Plaza department store, True Value Hardware and Servistar Motorsports—all in Garapan—the Do-It-Best Hardware in Chalan Piao, and a construction firm.
The Jollibee outlet in Garapan continues normal operations, Yumul said. When pressed if the business was doing well, he simply reiterated that operations remain normal.
Jollibee Foods Corp. is the leading fastfood chain in the Philippines. YCO acquired a franchise from Jollibee over five years ago for $65,000, excluding the minimum required capital investment of $250,000. Its franchise allows it to operate three Jollibee outlets on Saipan.
YCO first put up the Garapan restaurant for $700,000. Its capital investment for the Chalan Kanoa branch totaled some $300,000 four years ago, Yumul said.
Yumul said the rest of YCO’s holding companies have been performing positively. The YCO companies have over 80 employees.