Sunday, April 1, 2012

J.CO Donuts & Coffee Now in the Philippines

J.CO Donuts and Coffee, the fastest-growing donuts and coffee chain in Southeast Asia, has finally reached the Philippine shores with the opening of its first store at the Megastrip at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City.

Tracing its roots to Indonesia with the opening of its first store in 2005 and founded by an enterprising businessman named Johnny Andrean, J.CO Donuts & Coffee has expanded to over 100 stores in different locations in Bali, Jakarta, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and now, Manila. 

J.CO is known throughout the region for its unique doughnut offerings, with interesting flavors and catchy names, named after some of the most famous Hollywood celebrities. They have variants such as Avocado DiCaprio, Berry Spears, and Alcapone, among others. They also offer flavors such as Tiramisu, Green Tease, and even Strawberry or Chocolate Caviar Donuts (where the "Caviar" is actually just chocolate-flavored cereals). They offer a wide variety of donuts, coffee, and frozen yogurt that would certainly have people of different ages coming back for more.

The store interior has more of an Italian feel to it, to complement their Italian roast coffee
Recently, I had the chance to check out the first J.CO store in the Philippines, after hearing much about it on social networking sites, especially from contacts who have had the chance to try out their donuts during trips to Indonesia or Malaysia. 

The store is located at the Megastrip, so you actually have to get out of the mall to reach the place. It wasn't much of a problem though, since you could easily access the place from the 2nd floor of the Mega Atrium, where an elevator would be able to take you to the Megastrip right away. 

Upon entering, we immediately saw that there were a lot of people there, with so many people wanting to try out this new place. The queues to order the donuts and coffee were actually close to the entrance, giving us this immediate, "crowded" impression. As you go in further, however, we realized that the place was actually quite spacious, with plenty of space to move around. You really wouldn't have to worry about accidentally hitting a table with your knee or leg as you try to find a seat in this establishment. 

We decided to order a box of twelve assorted donuts so that we could try as much of what they have as possible. After patiently waiting in line for several minutes, we were at last able to try the donuts which were much-talked about even by local celebrities and fashion icons who attended their grand opening about a month ago. And yes, we were certainly not disappointed.

Just some of the donuts we ordered
A big plus that we immediately noticed was that their donuts weren't too sweet, unlike that other well-known American doughnut franchise (let's just call it "K.K.") that opened its first store at Taguig city sometime in 2006. You wouldn't really notice that you've eaten a lot already, because, as we put it in Tagalog, hindi nakaka-umay. One doughnut after the other, we couldn't help but be amazed at how they managed to minimize the sweetness of their donuts despite them being very flavorful and having generous amounts of cream filling. The variety of flavors that they offer is also a big plus (avocado or green tea donuts, anyone?), and the quirky names that they give to their donuts makes them much easier (and more fun!) to remember. They're also actually cheaper than K.K., too, at just P350/dozen. 

Since the opening of the first K.K. store in 2006, other doughnut shops in the country have dwindled in terms of sales. Even in the provinces, K.K. is the doughnut brand being talked about. If you happen to catch a domestic flight at the airport, you would see so many people bringing boxes and boxes of K.K. as pasalubong (gifts) to their eager relatives waiting for them in the provinces. Even a local doughnut chain (with the "smiling doughnut" logo that people would go "nuts" about *coughs*), which opened just a few years ahead of K.K. also in Taguig and aimed to be K.K.'s direct Philippine equivalent, has now been quietly disappearing. With the arrival of J.CO Donuts and Coffee, however, I sense a change in the air. Being an Indonesian brand, their doughnuts have been prepared to be more suited to the Southeast Asian taste. They're also more affordable, which is a big plus for the very budget-conscious Philippine market. Their flavors are certainly interesting and memorable, and they're also expanding more quickly than K.K. did, as they plan to open six stores throughout Metro Manila by the end of the year. Now that's a lethal combination that's difficult to measure up to.

It looks like K.K. has finally met their match.

J.CO Donuts & Coffee is located at the Megastrip at the ground floor of SM Megamall, building B (beside Mang Inasal). Watch out for the opening of more J.CO locations before the end of the year at SM Mall of Asia, Greenbelt 3, Trinoma, SM Fairview, and Alabang Town Center. J.CO's flagship branch at Megamall is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

1 comment:

  1. J. Co is love to our family spells love!
    Just followed you! Hope you follow me too:



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