TACLOBAN CITY- Thousands of loyal McDonald’s customers lined up and dined during the reopening of the fastfood chain on October 16 at Rizal Avenue in this city.
The store opened at 6:30 a.m. and closed at 12 midnight on that day. The reopening was a record breaking one in terms of customer turnout, it was learned.
Caroline Lee Andrade, president of Carol Ventures, Inc., said she was overwhelmed by the huge success of the reopening of McDonald’s. “I am very happy of this very special day. This is a testament that we still have our loyal customers and people continue to patronize McDonald’s.”
“We are happy to serve Tacloban again,” Andrade added. Carol Ventures, Inc. is the franchisee of McDonald’s here.
“We are confident we still have a huge following and loyal customers. We are confident in the economy of the city, that’s why we decided to open 11 months after Yolanda battered the city,” said Andrade.
McDonald’s is situated in the same location, at Rizal Avenue near the regional port of Tacloban, when it first opened in 2003.
Kenneth Yang, president and chief operating officer of McDonald’s in the Philippines, said that the decision of McDonald to reopen in Tacloban is a testament of the company’s confidence in the economy of the city.
“It is also a commitment in our continuing efforts to help, after Yolanda battered the city and neighboring municipalities,” said Yang.
Yang said after the typhoon, the company had a hard time to contact the employees. He sent people to check how the employees were doing and when he was sure of their safety, he provided them with relief, including their families.
McDonald’s building and equipments worth P50 million were destroyed by the storm surges brought about by supertyphoon Haiyan, it being near the seaside.
He said that most of their employees were given jobs after the typhoon by relocating them in McDonald’s branches in nearby Cebu City and even Manila.
The McDonald’s compound was used as relief hub of the company at the height of the relief efforts in the city and nearby towns. McDonald’s has distributed 100,000 bags of relief goods.
The opening was graced by Leyte Governor Dominic Leopoldo Petilla, Vice City Mayor Sambo Yaokasin, former city councilor Robert Andrade who is the husband of Caroline, and other guests. Lending star attraction were actors Matteo Guidicelli and Zian Lim.
It was further learned that reconstruction of the building took time because it was hard transporting materials to the city, according to Andrade. Nevertheless, the construction was finished on time when it started last September.
Yang added that McDonald’s has confidence in the Philippine economy that it will open 35 more branches by the end of 2014. Half of the 435 stores around the country are company owned and half are run by franchises.
McDO BAHAY BULILIT
“The reopening of McDonald’s is a double celebration because today is also the 40th year anniversary of the Ronald McDonald’s House Charities that offers programs for millions of children all over the world,” Yang said during the launching of the McDo Bahay Bulilit at the compound in San Jose Elementary School in Tacloban.
“The McDo Bahay Bulilit is a Day-Care Center that caters to underprivileged children 6years and below. We know that many day-care centers were levelled to the ground during the typhoon and this is our way of helping the children especially the less privileged,” Yang said.
The Bahay Bulilit is the 25th built in the country and the first in the region. It is has an area of 80-sqm with electric fans, chairs and tables, books and other reading materials. It will be managed by the City Social Welfare Office (DSWD).
After the launching which was graced by Tacloban City Councilor Christina G. Romualdez, San Jose Barangay 87captain Leo Bahin among others, Ronald McDonald read the story, “The Shy Rooster” to the pre-schoolers.
“This Bahay Bulilit is just one of the many projects we will do in Tacloban and Region VIII,” Yang said.
McDonald’s is run by 100-employees, with 70-percent comprising the original employees, before the operation was halted after Yolanda.