Founder of Jollibee Went from Franchisee to Billionaire

The Philippines' iconic chain Jollibee began with founder Tony Tan Caktiong working in a franchised ice cream parlor, and now, he has a net worth of over $2.7 billion.

Caktiong and his family immigrated to the Philippines from Eastern China and opened a restaurant that became successful with the help of every family member, including Caktiong's six siblings. After earning a Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering, Caktiong opened two Magnolia Dairy Ice Cream franchises in 1975. Soon, customers were demanding hot food, including a prototype of Jollibee's famous Chickenjoy. After adding hamburgers and Pinoy-style spaghetti (a sweet tomato sauce made with numerous meat ingredients such as hot dogs and ham) to the menu in 1978, Caktiong discontinued his franchises and turned his ice cream parlors into restaurants.

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The first official Jollibee store opened in Manila in 1978, after Caktiong and his family had trademarked the company's name and bee icon. He had also trademarked menu items such as the Yumburger, the Chickenjoy, and the Jolly Spaghetti. By the mid-1980s, Jollibee had solidified the menu items that patrons know and love today. And now, the company owns eight different chains, including Greenwich for their Italian-inspired foods, Chowking for Asian foods, Burger King Philippines, and the American chain Smashburger. Jollibee owns 50% of the market share in the Philippines as the leading fast food restaurant in the country and has hundreds of restaurants worldwide. Caktiong attributes the brand's success to trademarking each and every item and providing a unique cultural experience for consumers.

"Trademarks increased a lot of value to our business," Caktiong tells StockBytes. "To the consumer, they represent either trust in the company or trust in the brand. They will remember that the brand connotes very tasty food and also the experience. And they are also proud to be a part of that brand."