Makati City, Philippines – June 14, 2011 – The Eraserheads releases “Ang Huling El Bimbo.” Ballroom dancing is in vogue. Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada lead the country. And Michael Jackson visits the Philippines for his HIStory concert. All in 1996.
Things looked very different indeed when Bo’s Coffee opened its first store. “Coffee was not a lifestyle yet, it was just a product. There were not a lot of coffee shops. There were no foreign brands in the market,” said Steve Benitez, Founder and CEO of Bo’s Coffee. Filipinos, at that time, couldn’t understand why they’d have to pay so much for a cup of coffee. And that was a mold that Bo’s Coffee had to break.
“Our first store opened on June 28, 1996. Actually it was a kiosk with six tables–a very, very small operation. It was in Ayala Center Cebu,” Benitez recalls. “The public’s reception of the concept was not encouraging. Coffee was a product that they used to get for free in their homes, and they get it so cheaply at restaurants. So when we priced our coffee at specialty coffee prices, it [met] some resistance.”
He continues, “For the first three months it was really discouraging. If it was purely treated by me as a business, I think I would have folded that up. But it was really more of a passion.”
Thankfully, his passion of bringing a world-class coffee experience to the community eventually bore fruit. The six-table kiosk remains operational after 15 years, and what F&B World claims to be the “premier local specialty coffee brand” is hitting 50 stores this year. Bo’s Coffee, an all-Filipino company, looks to even more aggressive expansion in the coming years, both locally and abroad.
To celebrate 15 years and 50 stores, Bo’s Coffee has a special treat for its customers. From June 28 to July 21, 2011, every Tuesday and Thursday, Bo’s Coffee will sell its classic brewed coffee (short size) at P15 from 10:00AM to 3:00PM, and all variants of its froccino (tall size) at P50 from 3:00PM to 7:00PM. Its 24-hour stores will also sell tall froccinos at P50 from 12 midnight to 4:00AM. For more information, please go to http://15and50.boscoffee.com.