My responsibly-written point of view on bleisure, branding, career, corporate communications, entertainment, journalism, leadership, management, public relations, social media


This is not a “nice” way of rediscovering Figaro, the local coffee chain known for promoting our very own coffee. I heard about this a week ago through a friend but I didn’t believe it yet – I had a chance to meet Pacita “Chit” Juan, a true coffee lover and until last year, was the CEO of Figaro, touted as the largest Filipino-owned chain of coffee shops. Through her I learned how the brand became what it is, and more than serving good coffee, how Figaro became a driving force in reinvigorating the Philippine coffee industry.

This morning, I received this in my office e-mail (I am not a direct recipient but somehow it got in my inbox, anyway),  detailing the “hostile takeover” of  Figaro – definitely the coffee there lost its aroma with this nasty, corporate goings-on. For the sake of those who believe in the brand and for what it has been doing to revive the dying coffee industry, I hope this battle will be over soonest.

Following is the e-mail in full text (with permission from the sender):

Date: Tue, Jan. 20, 2009 at 8:41 AM



The country’s largest local chain is beset with a problem for its franchisees as funders under the guise of “investors” brazenly took over the operations to the disappointment of many franchisees and its loyal employees.

It was reported that a group running a pizza delivery chain paid P20 million to get in through an in-law of the majority stakeholder.

Employees and franchisees are crying “foul” as the new lender suddenly took the reins of the company’s operations last few weeks without notice of legality or due process.

It will be recalled that management of Figaro changed late last year and franchisees were waiting for the next steps of the majority stockholders when all of a sudden, a new investor came in and started running the company.

Employees are aghast at the management style and franchisees are in a quandary if the famous brand will like up to its history of good coffee and excellent service.

The company’s other stakeholders could not be reached for comment as they have reportedly already filed legal suits to protect their interests.

Meanwhile, franchisees and employees are in the dark on what is the next for the coffee chain. Figaro has over 60 stores and more than half of them belonging to franchisees. Famous franchisees are the Jaafars of Tawi-Tawi, the family of Chiz Escudero, the Villar family who all believed in the brand and what it stood for.

The franchisees hope that they could seek relief from the SEC or the IPO as the new investor has no access to the brand’s registered marks which the franchisees are guarding with their lives. Further, employees and resigned employees are seeking relief from the DOLE and NLRC as their termination pay has also been held by the new operator.


Written by Lynda C. Corpuz

January 21, 2009 at 11:35 am

%d bloggers like this: