Cebu-based Bo’s Coffee shares expansion plans, tribute store, support for local coffee farmers

By Jose Santino S. Bunachita |December 05,2018 - 10:23 PM

Steve Benitez, owner and founder of Bo’s Coffee, discusses the coffee chain’s plans and their newest offering Bo’s Coffee’s tribute store at the Capitol Site.
CDN PHOTO/JOSE SANTINO S. BUNACHITA

Fueled by strong local demand as well as promising local sources, homegrown coffee chain Bo’s Coffee is looking at aggressive expansion plans in the country.

By 2022, the Cebuano company wants to have between 200 and 250 stores nationwide.

This would be more than double their current stores in the Philippines which is at 103.

“This is our job, in the industry, in the supply chain. Our job is to make sure that we are able to popularize coffee and be able to supply so much, not only in the Philippines but globally,” said Steve Benitez, founder of Bo’s Coffee.

Backed by a strong team, more people and after restarting their franchising program, he said they hoped to be able to reach their objective.

Benitez said they were eyeing more branches in Luzon as they “had only scratched the surface” there.

At the same time, they are also looking at more international branches, specifically in five mostly Middle Eastern countries, in the next four years.

Bo’s currently already has one branch in Qatar and has been set to open a second branch there. Three more branches in Qatar are also set to open in the next two years.

According to Bo’s Coffee Chief Operating Officer Rachel Fallarme, they see a lot demand and opportunities in putting up coffee shops.

“Although there are a lot of competition in terms of Filipino coffee shops, it is Bo’s that has the most number of shops and it’s continuously growing.

There are other Filipino shops emerging but we are aggressive because we see we have something unique to offer,” she said.

Bo’s Coffee has also welcomed a new investor in their company.

Bo’s Coffee Chief Finance Officer Iñigo Geronilla said Navegar Fund had decided to invest in the company due to its efforts in helping communities and local farmers, which is one of the thrusts of the Philippine-focused fund.

Local sources
One of the company’s newest offerings is their first ever tribute store, which is located at the Capitol Site along Osmeña Boulevard in Cebu City.

The 300-square meter store supports social enterprises by partnering with local micro-small entrepreneurs in their store interiors, products, and merchandise inside.

It is set to open to the public by Friday, December 7. It will be open from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily.

Benitez said they also want to be able to help more local coffee farmers which are one of their major sources for their coffee beans.

“Seventy to 80 percent of our coffee beans are sourced locally. We were trailblazers. We started featuring Philippine coffee and the other shops followed after,” he said.

Founded in 1996, Bo’s Coffee has been serving coffee made with handpicked Arabica coffee beans from Sagada, Benguet, Mount Kitanglad in Bukidnon, Mount Matutum in Tupi, South Cotabato, and Mount Apo.

They also source Robusta beans from Cavite and other coffee highlands and regions in the country.

Asked about the prospects of local coffee farmers in Cebu, specifically in the town of Tuburan, Benitez said that while there is potential for these farmers, it is still at the “very early stage.”

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