By Madelaine B. Miraflor
Quick service restaurant giant McDonald’s Philippines said that with the easing of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in the country, 93 percent of its stores are now operational, which is higher compared to 50 percent at the beginning of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) placed over different parts of the country starting March.
Most of the food chain’s branches also recently resumed their dine-in services after having no choice but to only operate through delivery and drive-thru services, McDonald’s Philippines Managing Director Margot B. Torres said in a virtual press conference on Tuesday.
Because of this, McDonald’s Philippines Chief Executive Officer Kenneth S. Yang expects the company’s sales to eventually pick up.
“During this period, we had to do a lot of adjustments to make sure we maintained our revenue and sales,” Yang said.
“When the crisis hit, we did delivery and drive-thru. As we continue, we should see our sales improving now that we have dine-in services. We should be able to exploit all our existing channels,” he added.
Without providing specific figures, Torres said McDonald’s sales from its food delivery business “grew three times” compared to pre-COVID-19 period.
“The preference of our customers right now is still delivery and drive-thru. We still don’t know how much is willing to dine-in,” she added.
Overall, Yang is seeing a slowdown on store openings in terms of expansion due to the persistence of COVID-19 pandemic.
“With this crisis, we had to adjust,” Yang said. “But we will continue to open around 15 stores, significantly less than what we planned”.
In 2019, McDonald’s opened 58 new stores across the country such as Camarines Sur, El Nido, Coron, Mangatarem in Pangasinan, Digos in Davao del Sur, Mati in Davao Oriental, Lagao in General Santos, Silay and Cadiz in Negros Occidental, Danao in Cebu and Caibaan in Tacloban.
Right now, the company has 618 branches nationwide.
Last year, the company allotted P3 billion in capital expenditure, which was spent mostly on improving its customer experience.
Torres said that moving forward, McDonald’s Philippines will be following a business continuity planning framework that the company has drafted during the first few weeks of ECQ and already began implementing.
The framework consists of four stages, including ‘now’, ‘near-term’, ‘mid-term’, and ‘long-term’.
Now involves the company’s immediate response to the pandemic such as the additional investment poured into its COVID-19 safety measures as well as the maximization of its existing service channels.
The near-term plan or the recovery phase, which will span throughout the second half of this year, will see the firm’s efforts to stabilize its operations amid the foreseen recession.
During the rebound phase or the mid-term plan, the company expects a recovery in demand by 2021 and should therefore be able to cater to this, with some “new normal” adjustments in its operations.
By 2022 to 2023, the company should be able to re-establish routines already with “renewed perspective behavior”.