7-Eleven eyes lechon meals after fried chicken success

Jessica Fenol and Warren de Guzman, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 19 2018 04:23 PM | Updated as of Jul 19 2018 04:38 PM

MANILA -- The Philippine operator of 7-Eleven said Thursday it was looking at adding lechon to its menu, after fried chicken and coffee helped drive growth in 2017.

Philippine Seven Corp's net income grew 12.1 percent to P1.32 billion last year, as rice meal sales helped offset the effects of a nationwide smoking ban and martial law in the south, said its CEO, Jose Victor Paterno.

"Cebu lechon because its salty, best value. You can eat a lot of rice with it. We’re very value oriented," he told reporters after the company's annual stockholders' meeting.

Fried chicken has become "favorite" among customers, Paterno said, adding he eats it once a week.

"It’s what I eat the most and I think we’re the only one who have done it profitably, the others it’s very expensive," he said.

Philippine Seven plans to open 370 new stores this year after adding 317 outlets in 2017, Paterno said. It has 11 distribution centers nationwide serving 2,258 stores.

"Last year we backed off a bit, we didn’t open a lot of stores. So we opened fewer stores, now we’ll normalize," he said.

The company recently opened relatively smaller stores in Bohol and Leyte provinces, he said.

"In the end as long as people buy on impulse, as long as you don’t know for sure what you’re going to eat for meryenda tomorrow, and most people don’t, we’ll always have convenient stores," Paterno said.