Jollibee CEO Shares Business Tips for Small Business Owners

Esquire Philippines has just named Jollibee CEO Ernesto Tanmantiong as Businessman of the Year in its annual awards titled Man at His Best and the man himself granted the magazine a peek into his life as a father and businessman.

Jollibee is a prime example of small business success and in an interview for the award, Tanmantiong shared some tips about how one should handle his/her business if it’s still in the early phase.

He said small and medium enterprises must stick to their fundamentals when things get rough and that people behind the business must be taken care of.

“Our learning is that it is important to know your purpose and to remain steadfast towards that vision and mission. Every crisis and setback comes with a learning moment to progress myself or the company.

We also always prioritized taking care of our people even when times were difficult. Our people are at the heart of our business, and we wouldn’t be able to recover as fast as we did without their hard work and passion for the company.

Part of staying true to our mission is also sticking to the fundamentals even if circumstances change. Even if we had to adapt many things, we never sacrificed the quality of our food. For Jollibee Group, our core is to serve great tasting food at good value for money; this is what propelled our success in the past, and will continue to do so in the future.”

Those words from the Jollibee CEO himself must not be taken lightly. The company started as a small ice cream business in 1975 through the lead of Tan Caktiong. But when ice cream did not seem sustainable, he expanded the menu into hot meals. From then on, the business grew and came to be known as Jollibee by 1978.

It also made a gamble as a start-up business by paying for an advertisement on Philippine Basketball Association that brought it to a larger audience.

From a small ice cream venture, it is now known all over the world and got to build franchises in the U.S., Canada, Rome, China, Wales, and many European countries.

The business is not planning to slow down as Tanmantiong in the same interview said the company is planning to open more stores in the near future.

“In 2020, the majority of our openings happened abroad—a first in our history. This year, we are targeting to open 450 stores. We are optimistic that our existing and upcoming international stores will help us further grow as more countries reopen their economies.”

The Men at His Best award is meant to honor the life and works of the country’s most inspiring personalities.

Other awardees are Hidilyn Diaz for Athlete of the Year, John Arcilla for Actor of the Year, and the band Ben&Ben for Artist of the Year.

In the field of public service, Vice President Leni Robredo was named Esquire Philippines’ Maverick of the Year. Leni, in the interview, described herself as the David to the Goliath of her opponents, be it in politics or social justice.

Other winners are Rexy Dorado and Roland Ros who were named as Esquire Philippines’ Creators of the Year for their app Kumu and Rappler CEO and Nobel Prize winner Maria Ressa as Hero of the Year.

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