Ministop patrons may rest easy, as their favorite Uncle John's Fried Chicken and Kariman won't disappear even as news broke out that the Japanese company will pull out from their Philippine operations.
Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc. (RRHI) on Jan. 24 announced that the crowd staples would stay, as it buys out its Japanese partner's 40% stake to take full ownership of the convenience store chain in the Philippines.
In a statement, RRHI said it will continue to operate the stores using the Ministop brand "within the transition period agreed upon with Ministop Japan, until they are repurposed and appropriately rebranded in consideration of strong ready-to-eat offerings such as Uncle John's Fried Chicken and Kariman."
Uncle John's Fried Chicken, a well-seasoned chicken fried to a golden-brown crunch, has a strong local following.
Kariman, meanwhile, is a deep-fried bread with a variety of fillings, like pizza, ham, and chocolate.
Many Filipino netizens have expressed concerns over bidding goodbye to their go-to meals, as Nikkei Asia's Jan. 22 report broke that Ministop Japan will pull out of the Philippines.
Facebook user Roy Abrahmn lamented the "heartbreaking" news, saying he survived his college days through Ministop's bestsellers.
Twitter user @allivria, meanwhile, wondered where else she could buy strawberry ice creams, another Ministop offering, should the convenience store already go.
so if ministop is gonna be gone, where else am i gonna get strawberry ice creams :(((— yan (@aIIivria) January 23, 2022
Nikkei Asia also reported that Ministop Japan will sell its South Korean subsidiary to local conglomerate Lotte for $267 million (about P14 billion) to focus on its home market.
In a statement, Ministop Philippines General Manager Suresh Ramalinggam assured customers that their stores will continue to carry their bestsellers "while we continue to diversify our ready-to-eat menu and offer new products to the market."
"Customers can also rely on our convenient e-services and bills payment facilities," Ramalinggam said.
“I would like to thank Ministop Japan for our partnership over the years," said Robina Gokongwei Pe, RRHI president and chief executive officer. "Under the Ministop banner we were able to bring to the public well-loved products and essential services."
To date, there are over 460 Ministop branches in the Philippines.