Jollibee named corporation of the year by LA Asian biz group 

Luis Velasco (center), international marketing head for Jollibee Foods Corporation USA, receives Los Angeles Asian Business Association’s Corporation of the Year award on behalf of JFC on Thursday, October 10. He is joined by Robert Park (left), community business manager for the LA Mayor’s Office of Economic Development and ABA board member Ben Pascual (right).

Filipino fast-food giant Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC) was honored as corporation of the year by the Los Angeles Asian Business Association on Thursday, October 10.

JFC, with its flagship brand Jollibee, was recognized for being “one of the largest and fastest-growing Asian restaurant companies in the world” during the ABA’s 43rd annual awards banquet held at the Langham Huntington in Pasadena, California. 

“This award is validation of the great work of many of our colleagues both past and present whom I represent here today,” Luis Velasco, international marketing head who received the award on behalf of JFC, said. 

He added, “Our story began in 1975 as a small ice cream house in the Philippines. Our founder and chairman, Tony Tan Caktiong, always had a vision of someday making it big around the world. He initially set the goal of being the biggest restaurant company in Asia, an audacious goal that nobody believed could ever be achieved.”

Today, JFC operates in 21 countries with over 4,600 stores globally — Jollibee comprises 1,300 stores alone. 

In addition to Jollibee, JFC has 15 other brands and franchises under its wing both domestically in the Philippines and abroad, such as Smashburger, Tortas Frontera, Tim Ho Wan, Red Ribbon and Chowking.

In late September, the company completed its $350-million acquisition of American beverage and food retailer Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, marking the company’s largest acquisition to date.

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf will be the company’s second-largest business after Jollibee. It will add 14% to Jollibee’s global sales and 26% to its total store network. It will also boost the share of Jollibee’s international business to 36% of worldwide sales.

Luis Velasco (center), international marketing head for Jollibee Foods Corporation USA, is joined by colleagues as he accepts the Los Angeles Asian Business Association’s Corporation of the Year award on behalf of Jollibee during the ABA’s 43rd annual awards banquet on Thursday, October 10.

Jollibee — which will have its North American headquarters in West Covina, California —  has articulated aggressive plans to bring more of its beloved items like Chicken Joy across the United States with 150 new stores eyed by 2023. 

It recently opened two new California locations at the beginning of the fall, one in Hayward and another in Artesia, bringing the total to 46 stores in North America within the past 21 years. 

The company has expressed its goals of being among the top five restaurant groups in the world. 

On Thursday night, the ABA also honored Alex Zhou of Yamibuy as Entrepreneur of the Year; 7 Leaves Café with Visionary Company of the Year; TAWA Group (99 Ranch Market) with Community Impact of the Year; and Edward A. Simon II of California American Water as Advocate of the Year. 

“We want to showcase the success of our honorees in bringing about a positive experience for many Asian Americans. These businesses are well-known throughout the Asian American community and are vital to many of our community members,” said ABA Executive Director and CEO Dennis J. Huang. 

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