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Figaro eyes expansion in RP despite downturn

abs-cbnNEWS.com Posted at 02/05/2009 11:37 AM | Updated as of 02/05/2009 1:08 PM Unfazed by the economic downturn, Filipino firm Figaro Coffee Co. is planning to beef up its operations in the country this year. In a statement, the company said it was eyeing to open 10 more stores nationwide. The coffee maker currently has 70 local Figaro branches in its portfolio. Figaro was established in 1993 by a group of seven friends in the Philippines. To date, there are 55 Figaro stores in Metro Manila, two in Baguio City and one in Tagaytay. Other branches are located in key provincial cities such as Davao and Laguna. Figaro has also opened stores in schools such as the Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle - College of St. Benilde, and the University of the Philippines. The company has also ventured globally, with a store in Shanghai, China.

Chit Juan: Leaving Big Boss role behind
By KAREN FLORES, abs-cbnNEWS.com Posted at 03/04/2009 2:54 AM | Updated as of 04/21/2010 11:14 AM This is the second of our profile stories on the country's movers and shakers in business. In partnership with the Management Association of the Philippines, we hope to portray individuals who have reached a certain level of success, not just by mere luck, but through failures or rejections that helped shape them.

After 15 years since setting up Figaro Coffee Co. and making her mark in the Philippine coffee industry, Pacita "Chit" Juan stepped down as the chief executive officer last June 2008. She considered leaving the company, which she nourished like her own child, to venture into social entrepreneurship as her life’s biggest challenge yet. The timing of events was crucial in making the sudden shift,

and my advocacy to different communities is through my work in the Peace and Equity Foundation. These new roles are a breeze. She was seeking for and yearning to reach her life’s purpose—something that has evolved since she started her 30-year ascent as a profit-seeking entrepreneur. It has also evolved into a venue for mentoring programs for those interested in organic and sustainable community-based products. With the help of friends. "My advocacy in coffee is in the Philippine Coffee Board. Not long after.saying that things would have turned differently if she thought about it any sooner. she was creating perforated bags out of scrap metal from their auto parts factory and retailed them in bazaars. and marketing challenges. a private-sector group that promotes the country's coffee industry. she put up Figaro Foundation. So how do you marry business with social impact?" she said. Eventually. The entrepreneurial spirit of her family. which essentially assured the bean supply for the coffee shops through engagements with local coffee farmers all over the country. she started getting involved in social issues that were holding back the business’ expansion plans. New roles Juan is now a full-time social entrepreneur who focuses on causes ranging from social to environmental. to actually linking all this." Juan explained. coffee shops. so what is my legacy? It's easy for people who are married or . Her partners expressed that they wanted to try their hand at management. a nongovernment organization (NGO) that administers an endowment fund for poverty alleviation. in 1993. From being just an entrepreneur. For the environment and a sustainable lifestyle. she helped establish the Philippine Coffee Board. it's in ECHOstore. the company’s social arm. got her going even at a young age. She was at a crossroad. you now become a social entrepreneur. the retail space markets products from small communities and marginalized sectors and promoting a sustainable lifestyle. It seemed logical. The coffee farmers were battling technological. who has an almost half a century-old automobile parts venture. Making the decision To address supply bottlenecks for Figaro Coffee. "The challenge for me is how you transition from being a corporate person talking about business. supply. Commencing operations in September. She still wanted the business to soar but preferred that it wasn’t too dependent on her leadership. The Environment and Community Hope Organization Store (ECHOstore) at Serendra in Taguig City is a profit venture with a social cause. Alongside her daily business-related duties. she founded Figaro Coffee Co. credit. Juan was also appointed as a business sector representative of the Peace and Equity Foundation. She bought and sold chocolates and peddled them to her elementary classmates. All these made her reflect: “I'm not married.

." she said. She still holds a 42-percent stake in the company and maintains her seat in the board.those who have kids. and a 3-week program of the US State Department she spent with four other Filipina entrepreneurs from the southern regions. “This was like being shown how people are organized so you can spread the word about women empowerment—all in an entrepreneurial fashion. a women’s summit in Hanoi city in Vietnam. but leaving the world a better place than when you found it. for instance. Letting go was initially something she needed to get used to. she would focus all her energies on strategic planning. how do you impact your world? What can I do next?" Juan said. She would go to stores to check on her staff's performance. or to complain about a certain branch. she attended an Asia-Pacific economic summit in Peru. I have to infect more women. leaving her partners to chart its destiny. After those three weeks I thought. Whenever she visits restaurants and cafes. She still leads Figaro Foundation. making sure that there's growth every year like every business should be. Letting go Juan now watches Figaro Coffee from a distance. I have to replicate. So it's no longer about economics. she now looks forward to establishing new relationships and networks for her causes." Juan concluded. acting like the noise police if she senses anything wrong. She found it discomforting at first to repeatedly explain her decision to people who would always come to her to ask for a franchise. further encouraged Juan that leaving her “Big Boss” role in the coffee business was worth it. But instead of being concerned with numbers. Juan still gets up early. But for people like me. Juan would get up early in the morning for work since she wanted to be first in the office. Her travels and exposure to other women from other countries played a role in finding the answers. As Big Boss. and her schedule is still packed with meetings. From April to August 2008. she would point out shortcomings to waiters and managers as if they were her own staff. It's so beautiful. They'll just teach everything to their kids and hope that the kid will turn out to be a good citizen. But Juan said she managed to make the transition because she was more excited about the roles she was transitioning to. How the women entrepreneurs managed to address social issues through their own ventures while wrestling tough situations and locations. For each day. "Now I use my 30-year experience to make the biggest impact on other people's lives.

Ex-Figaro CEO pushes ahead with new coffee chain By Johanna D.. Moreover. who now operates the 10 Le Café Figaro coffee shops. Exacerbating the rift is the emergence of a new coffee chain. she said. who owns 42% of F Coffee Holdings Corp. Juan.. surrendered management of the coffee chain to the Tanseco family. Airing her side of the story after a Figaro Coffee official’s Wednesday announcement of store and product expansions. Franchisees needs were also not being met. or else be "blacklisted" in the country. and Shanghai. Inc. together with business partner Ma. Francisco. and the recent move to target the "C" market with new food products.Figaro Coffee Co. where she acts as consultant. BusinessWorld Posted at 06/26/2009 1:19 AM | Updated as of 06/26/2009 1:29 AM MANILA ." without prior notice to the minority shareholders. Hong Kong. she came out with a "notice and warning" in newspapers stating that she owned the Figaro trademarks. making it look like she had turned back on promises made on behalf of the company. Juan told reporters yesterday she had "stepped down" in good faith. is going through a crisis of identity with two opposing forces claiming to have a right to the Figaro trademarks. new franchising agreements. citing Lot Tan. Just two months after her resignation.. Regina S. she lent the name "Figaro" to the newly registered Le Café Figaro Enterprises. Poblete. Le Café Figaro. and both refusing to back down from the fight. to allow the major shareholders a turn in running Figaro Coffee. she said the new management had decided not to buy stocks from local coffee farmers. occupying nine spaces that were once branches of the original company. Ms. Juan. Thereafter. alongside a new outlet at Fraser Place in Salcedo Village — in all totaling 10 coffee shops (some still under renovation). The company also withdrew support for the China branch. The tug-of-war started in June 2008 after former Figaro chief executive officer Pacita U. who founded the chain in 1993 with six others. hit Figaro Coffee’s expansion plans. Juan pointed out that Figaro became "the No. including the trade name. she added. All are operated by a former Figaro franchisee. Ms. Ms. ." She said her primary issue with the new Figaro Coffee management is that in December 2008 "new players had come in claiming to have put in money. Inc. 1 biggest local coffee chain" during her 15-year tenure and that any expansion to other countries "is a challenge every time. Addressing allegations of financial mismanagement as well as profit loss due to the opening of outlets in Dubai. forcing her and then head of China operations Ross Juan to close the Shanghai branch themselves.

He reiterated that his group came in after Ms. Figaro Coffee Co. I did not leave the corporation. . Mr. "There’s more food. they didn’t have that. Figaro [was the] only local company that was kind of going head-on with the international chains but now. passing of as their own. said in a phone interview that Ms. and that the primary reasons were interest in Figaro as a Filipino brand "which can further be developed like other international brands. under her name." she added. Inc. Inc. disposing or performing any act in connection with the Figaro trademarks. Mel Verano. An April 14 order by Judge Joselito Villarosa of the Makati Regional Trial Court ruled against Ms." the ruling stated." Ms." F Coffee Holdings Corp.. Juan. during her tenure as director and president of the company under the Figaro group. selling.." she said. Juan and her allies must "cease and desist from using. assigning. It also said Ms. Juan’s claim to the name "Figaro" resulted in a counter-measure from majority shareholders who contested her right to the Figaro trademarks in court." and merely provided financial resources so that the company would continue to operate." especially when going into a similar business. Verano said he and his business partner Gerry Liu have "not bought a single stock." to protect workers. the new Figaro would be this. that doesn’t seem to be the direction." Therefore the "Figaro trademarks are treated by law as those of the corporation. Juan had already stepped down. and save the investment of franchisees and shareholders. Juan registered 12 specified trademarks. there’s still coffee. as in "Le Café Figaro. and Figaro Coffee Systems. what’s unfair competition? This is what I would have done if I had the reins of Figaro until today. Juan’s camp however. I left management [but] I don’t know what my 42% is worth now. [but] I’m infusing healthier food." she said."You need 67% to get something major done. Concerning allegations made that his group came in without prior notice to the minority shareholders. "If I had continued the Figaro management from June 2008. as the company was unable to shoulder the expenses of basic supplies. are objecting to the use of the Figaro name in any form. So if they say this is unfair competition.. specifically. Verano said Figaro Coffee would have collapsed if his group didn’t stepped in. The order noted that Ms. Juan shouldn’t be using the name "Figaro. claims the court order does not state. You love your baby which you have nurtured for 15 years. that other parties cannot use the name "Figaro" in conjunction with other words. Mr. Ms. referring to the new Le Café Figaro chain.. but you see it going in a new direction that is not the vision that you had for it. but that as an "agent" and "trustee" of the corporation "occupies a fiduciary relation to the corporation. chief executive officer of Figaro Coffee. transferring. being the principal.

” Le Bistro’s new concept targets the middle. it represents holistic values.to high-end clients. who has about 10 Figaro franchise stores. Pacita Juan. Businesswoman Lot Tan. Le Bistro’s flagship store is in Fraser Place. Juan. “Figaro. which is now under new management. . who established Figaro about 2 decades ago. [the one attempting] to put the Philippines back in the coffee belt.com/Newsbreak. Tan has formally tapped Juan to source the coffee beans for Tan’s new concept store chain called Le Bistro. that you can be proudly Pinoy. decided to side with Juan.The Figaro Coffee chain now has 40 franchised stores. is supporting a former Figaro franchisee who has decided to cut ties with Figaro. a high-end service residence landmark in the Makati business district. "Figaro is the one espousing Kape Barako. the old Figaro is dead. and 30 company-owned outlets. though she still holds substantial shares in the company itself.” Juan relinquished her management post to her partners last year. which is set to open within July or early August. Le Bistro In a statement to abs-cbnNEWS. "Why did people become enamored of Figaro? Because of what it represents. Juan and her Figaro partners are currently locked in a legal battle for the rights to the trade name. Juan said Figaro is now moving down from its previous target of middle-income clients to those that burger chains also cater to. Juan said expansion plans for Le Bistro include a new store in NAIA Terminal 3.com/Newsbreak Posted at 07/18/2009 7:15 PM | Updated as of 07/21/2009 12:47 AM Retail chain Figaro Coffee Company is up for another competition—its own founder. however." she said. Juan said she “could not refuse Lot Tan’s invitation to open yet a new concept in the food and beverage field. Sourcing coffee beans from rural farmers all over the country—and selling the social responsibility story in Figaro’s supply chain—was key to marketing Figaro against other coffee chains in the country. abs-cbnNEWS. It’s a major departure from the Figaro’s target market. coffee farming and seed-planting. Juan used to stress. For Ms. Where is that now?" Ex-Figaro chief opens new resto chain By Lala Rimando.

“There are problems with the grant of these loans. Wifi access is free.Juan said Le Bistro’s concept has been a long time dream. while the interests due to current ones have not been paid.” Figaro investor blames founder for P92M loans By Lala Rimando. “I have found the perfect place for coffee during the day. Beyond offering coffee. cocktails at night and the [Inter]net or meetings in between. 2009. It said that the principal. Shining knights? . and cocktails for winding down —all in one store. Some of these loans have already matured late last year.” Another P5 million is owed to Metrobank.com/Newsbreak Posted at 08/12/2009 3:09 AM | Updated as of 08/12/2009 4:29 PM MANILA .66 million are “due and demandable. “This recession has made people want a relaxing drink after work. light bistro fare. For Chit. We offer cocktails at dusk to the same people who come for coffee in the morning. The store’s interiors are in teal and grey to give a modern upscale feel.” Juan wrote. Verano showed a demand letter from Banco de Oro dated May 26. acting chief executive officer Crismel Verano said. abs-cbnnews. Lot added. interest and charges of various loans amounting to P92. it also offers light bistro fare. In a press conference on Tuesday. Wine and beer are available.The new management of homegrown coffee chain Figaro blamed the firm’s founder for some P92 million worth of loans that have choked operations in the past months. Le Bistro has been her “dream concept”: coffee.” He added that they have written the creditor banks to ask for a loan restructuring to allow Figaro’s cash flow some leeway.

They expect to finally return Figaro in the black in 1. there were about 30 company-owned stores and about 40 franchised ones. which were used to open 10 more stores. and said they are willing to “fund [its financial needs] all the way. Juan stepped down as Figaro’s chairman and chief executive.com/Newsbreak. another food chain. turning over the company's reigns to her partners.” By Verano’s reckoning. Verano’s partners in Domino’s Pizza. In previous reports. who has 56% stake in Figaro.” They invested without due diligence. Figaro’s founder Pacita Juan explained that the loan with Banco de Oro was availed in 2005 as part of plans to list in the stock exchange by 2009. IPO plans In a phone interview with abs-cbnnews. Around the same time. among others. the Tanseco’s.Verano said his business partners were approached by the Tanseco family.5 to 2 years. .” she said. milk. A corporate infighting ensued months after. Then the interest charges on the loan went unpaid and the suppliers had difficulty collecting. are also with him in their Figaro venture. Verano said that his group should be considered as “knights in shining armor” since they essentially saved a homegrown brand from “sinking in the quagmire. “BDO Capital arranged that loan to roll out stores in preparation for our [Initial Public Offering] several years down the road. Figaro needs about P200 million to financially rehabilitate Figaro. Juan said the original amount of the loan was only P60 million. he said they prioritized the settlement of some P5 million in weekly payments to suppliers. They are Gerry Liu and his son Justin Liu. They have sunk in about P50 million for working capital needs of Figaro. Their investments in Figaro now are considered debts or advances.” When Verano’s group assumed management of the company in January 2009. At the time.” Verano considers his group as “crisis managers. Figaro’s franchise holders have been complaining of lack of support from the company in terms of marketing and basic store supplies: sugar. but they said they will convert these in equity stakes when the right time comes. The plan was to expand the retail chain to a network of 100 stores. “for help. In June 2008.

In other words.abs-cbnnews. Juan eventually became a consultant to the new store concept that a former Figaro franchisee put up.” Juan said that since Verano’s group did not conduct a due diligence before joining the Tansecos in Figaro. “In our loan agreement with BDO. This has long been paid. She said it involved a particular trademark over one of the Figaro products where a company check worth some P3. we agreed that in case Figaro fails to settle the loan.000 was used to pay regular trademark fees when she was out of the country.” She added that while she still holds a minority 42% stake in Figaro. No due diligence The twists and turns don’t end there.At least 13 franchised stores cut ties with Figaro. Juan decried. http://www. They wanted to issue a warrant of arrest so that the media can feast on me. she said. Verano showed this to the media. they did not realize that missing the loan payments meant possibly losing 19 stores. Juan said a bail bond has been posted and the case is still being contested. “This is already below the belt. the right to own 19 stores is part of the collateral with the bank.com/business/08/11/09/figaro-investor-blames-founder-p92-mloans .” She said she is considering transferring the trademarks to BDO “just to clear my name with BDO. “Whatever happened to minority rights?” she asked. which she founded in 1993. further setting back the IPO plans of the company. the bank will be entitled to 19 Figaro stores.” Juan stressed. however. During the press conference. Verano vaguely explained that part of their hesitations about paying the loan is because “The other owners [Juan’s group] mortgaged their properties to get their loans. A warrant of arrest against Juan was issued last July 27 arising from one of the trademark-related cases. she had no prior knowledge of the entry of the Verano group. Juan and the Tansecos had been on a bitter legal war over the trademark. Juan added that Verano’s group learned only after they have already joined the firm that she has the personal copyright to the trademark “Figaro” and other permutations of the brand.

Cavite. all day breakfast. one in DBP Makati and the other in Dasmarinas. pasta. Figaro. coffee shops.. Philippines · Posted in: Announcement. Gil Puyat Ave. economy. coffee. Ace L. breakfast. Figaro Coffee Co. pizza. Figaro’s expansion program is in line with its tradition to continue serving the finest native barako coffee in the country by opening more outlets.Figaro to open more stores in 2010 The country’s largest Filipino-owned coffee company plans to expand operations this year by opening up one or two outlets each month. which will focus mostly on business districts around the country as we want more and more people to experience our local barako coffee.. Products .5 million.roysville.com/2010/06/26/figaro-to-open-more-stores-in-2010/ June 26. Marketing manager of Figaro Coffee Systems Inc. most of which are in Luzon. Philippine business news. They have just opened two stores recently..entrepreneur. The DBP Makati branch is a full store carrying their complete line-up of coffee drinks. sandwhiches and pastries. Figaro was established in 1993 and is a 100-percent Filipino-owned company whose product lines include specialty roasted local coffee varieties and various coffee-related paraphernalia. noted that each store has an estimated cost of P6. marketing. Of the 65 Figaro branches nationwide. 35 are franchise-owned and 30 are company-owned. cor. “Figaro Coffee Company is now keeping a critical eye on expanding in our home-market. “As we continue to expand.investments. more and more Filipino coffee farmers are benefited. or a total of 18 stores before the year ends.” Azarraga said. 2010 · Roy · No Comments Tags: Business. which is perfect for business and casual meetings. i nvestments. Azarraga. Employment. expansion.” Azarraga said. Sen. ala carte. Philippines. http://money. Corporations. Makati City. sets aside a total of P78 million to fund the increase of its 65 coffee shopsin the Philippines. Figaro Coffee Company only buys localcoffee beans. Makati Ave. The store is located at the ground floor of DBP building.. Filipinoowned. entrepreneur.

" said Verano. Figaro is steadily joining the ranks of companies like Jollibee Foods Corp. Saudi Arabia. "Locally we have more than 12 stores opened this year. is set to open stores in Singapore. a private group is reviving the old glory of the Philippines as a competitor of Brazil in the 18th century. . Jollibee chairman. This will also bring Figaro’s total stores to 70. The new stores bring the company’s overseas presence to four after opening the first overseas branch early this year. coffee processors in the Philippines are importing beans mostly from Vietnam. Figaro CEO.Taking the Filipino name overseas BY RUELLE ALBERT D. particularly in Asia. whose portfolio of fast-food outlets continues to become a common fast-food fixture in many countries. However. Tony Tancaktiong. previously declared that it the company’s intention to become Asia’s No. "We have just signed the contract for Saudi Arabia. this time in the coffee shop business. Crismel Verano. is planning to invade rich markets abroad. CASTRO ONE more Filipino company." said Verano. said the company is ready to ship Philippine-grown beans to Papua New Guinea after signing the franchise agreement. and in Singapore we are in the process of identifying the location. and Papua New as it continues to seek the best locations abroad. Figaro Coffee Co. Strangely. Coffee bean production is estimated to be just about half of total demand.1 fast-food chain.

000 tons. Verano said demand has the potential to grow 14 to 15 percent as the drinking population is expanding very fast.000 metric tons. and cart." he said. a 30 to 35 percent growth from last year. http://www.ph/oct24/busi4.Tancaktiong also said that Jollibee sees a 50:50 contribution to profit from local and international operations in three years’ time. we want people to taste what a quality Filipino coffee is.com.malaya. Verano said the Figaro could hit revenue if P450 million this year. About 65 percent of the stores are franchised. The Philippines has a yearly demand for coffee of 65. "Since we are a Filipino company. kiosk. Figaro offers three kinds of stores – full store with a kitchen that offers the complete product offering. Verano said Figaro is committed to taking the Philippines’ coffee where it is possible. It is growing 5 percent yearly with local production limited to 30.html . Figaro is targeting the opening next year of 25 stores locally and six to seven overseas.