Wednesday, April 23, 2008

PEACH MANGO PIE: A PRODUCT 4 YEARS IN THE MAKING

Peach Mango Pie or PMP as we called it, was Jollibee's answer to McDo's Apple Pie. It was also a product that was meant to fill up our very vacant line of desserts. To get it out in the market though we had to wait for about 4 years!

The idea of serving Peach Mango Pie was hatched as early as 1987. I know because it became the subject of an on-the - job Decision Analysis case study when we went through a Systematic Managerial Analysis course at DAP, Tagaytay early 1987.

The group tasked with figuring out how to get the product launched identified the "Must" criteria to enable the stores to serve the product. One of the critical musts was that the product must be at a frozen state when delivered to our stores. To be able to do that we needed a freezer van and that was going to cost millions of pesos!

When a rough payback analysis was made we realized that if we were to get a freezer van just to deliver pie to about 30 plus stores that year, the investment was not going to be worth it. So,the idea of serving Peach Mango Pie was shelved temporarliy until we could have the right number of stores to justify buying a freezer van.

It took about 4 years before we reached that critical mass. We had grown to about close to a hundred stores by then so the investment in freezer vans to deliver the frozen pies could now be justified.

We found out though that having a freezer van just solved one problem. We were in for a lot more surprises as we neared the launch of PMP.

During the initial tests of the prototype product we almost always had a perfect pie because our R&D produced these in small batches. The filling was a well balanced combination of mango bits and chunks of peach that tasted delicious and, we all agreed, would give McD's apple pie a run for its money.

However, when time came for big batch runs to be produced, we couldn't get the same consistency of the filling anymore. What we got was almost a liquid filling like mango jam, that didn't have any solids in it. We found out that when produced in commercial quantities the mango and peach tended to get beat into a pulp so the chunks and bits disappeared. R&D had to find a way to correct the problem.

When that problem was fixed we launched the product. It was an instant hit. Customers flocked to our stores to try the product out and because of this, during the first week we had complaints about stores running out of the pie.

However, as it turned out, the stock outs were not due to demand alone but because there were a lot of pies being rejected!

When the frozen pies reached the stores there were some that were a bit oversized. After frying, the edges of these pies got stuck on the pie holder and when the crew member tried to take these out,the pie crust would break.

So right in the middle of the product launch the Product Work Group had to figure out a way of getting pies unstuck without breaking.

The stopgap solution until Production corrected the size of the pies was for the stores to coat the pie holders with oil before loading the pies. This helped minimize the number of pies sticking to the metal. Then, in case a pie still got stuck, we recommended using a knife to pry it out of the pie slots.

Peach Mango Pie has since become a mainstay in the Jollibee Menu although its size has been reduced to what they now call Pocket Pies. There are also variants of the filling which include Tuna and Ube Macapuno.

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