Friday, April 4, 2008


"You've got to see what's happening at Landmark,"My boss, Abelle Carlos told me one day in 1988 .

Landmark is a mall in Makati which had just opened its doors to the public that year, and it would have been insignificant except for the fact that this was the first time that the two competing burger brands,Jollibee and McDonald's, were located together in one foodcourt.

Makati,being predominantly a Class AB market was supposedly McDonald's territory. McD claimed that its stores in the area had bigger sales than our stores but no one had evidence that this was true.

This was going to be the litmus test of McDonald's boast.

Jollibee's and McD's stores were just at opposite ends of each other. McDonald's had a slightly larger area because it had its own exclusive dining area which Jollibee didn't have. Just by visually estimating the the size of the crowds at the counters or by checking the number of cups,or styro packs that would be found in the common dining area, one could get a feel of who was selling more.

Since the pride of the brand was at stake here, the battle for Landmark became a no holds barred affair.

From Day 1 both brands resorted to giving out leaflets to passing customers hoping to entice them to their side. It was a sight to behold! For every crew Jollibee had, there was a McD counterpart handing out leaflets.

When simple leafletting didn't do the trick, both brands resorted to a price and promotions war.

The leaflets were now stamped with FREE items that were to be given to customers for a specific food purchase. Each tried to outdo the other in giving away something, just to be able to attract customers. And the promos changed from day to day depending on what the competition did.

For example, if McDonald's offered a free sundae cone for every P 50 purchase, Jollibee would come out with a free Fries and Coke offering.

Since it was just the two brands going all out in giving away free food, naturally customers gravitated to either one of the two, leaving the other food court brands with the scraps. Eventually, though these also joined in the fray and started offering their own free items. It came to a point that if you wanted to get free meals all you needed to do was bring a friend along to Landmark,buy the minimum purchase and your friend would get everything else for free!

So who won after the battle for Landmark.

Of course, both sides claimed victory although our contact in the Landmark administration who used to work with Jollibee revealed that Jollibee's sales were slightly better than our rival.

The after effect of all this though was that both stores lost money during the initial skirmishes until they stopped their promos. It was the customers who won in the end.

A couple of years later, I was told that when Jollibee and McDonald's opened side by side in another Mall (Manuela now Starmall at Crossing,) the McDonald's sub-franchisee spoke with S' Tommy King, the Jollibee Manuela franchisee, and both agreed not to repeat what happened during the Battle for Landmark!


LLQ said...

The battle for Landmark was never repeated in Manuela. Why? Because the customers delared Jollibee the winner the day it opened. I should know, I was part of the management team with Elizabeth Q., Marian, Arlene, Luigi and Celine. The smartest team I ever worked with.

tjm said...

Yes,that was a great team! I sometimes visited that store to see how we were doing vs. McD & I recall it was always full! You could see thru the glass panels what was going on at the McD side...they usually had empty seats.