Don't Be Surprised to See Fruitas Shakes in Ling Nam Restaurants
Ling Nam is a familiar name to many diners in the Binondo area in Manila. First opened in 1950, the restaurant serves a variety of Chinese favorites, including noodles and dim sum. In July 2022, the restaurant was acquired by listed company Fruitas Holdings Inc. (FHI), a multi-brand F&B company led by founder and president Lester Yu.
FHI brands include Fruitas, Buko Loco, Buko ni Fruitas, Juice Avenue, Johnn Lemon, Black Pearl, Tea Rex, De Original Jamaican Pattie Shop and Juice Bar, The Mango Farm, Babot’s Farm, Soy & Bean, Balai Pandesal, and Sabroso Lechon.
Yu, who had grown up eating at Ling Nam with his grandmother, told Esquire Philippines that he didn’t want to miss out on an opportunity when he found out that the owners of Ling Nam had put the restaurant up for sale nearly three years ago. He made an offer that was quickly accepted.
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In March 2023, the deal was finally completed, with FHI owning Ling Nam through its wholly owned subsidiary Lingnam Food Inc. The deal was made in time for the restaurant’s 73rd anniversary this month.
In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Tuesday, FHI said its entry into the Asian casual dining space through Ling Nam will diversify its revenue base. The company said it intends to execute several initiatives with its newest acquisition “to maximize synergies” with the rest of FHI. These include selling products from FHI’s other brands in Ling Nam restaurants, opening of kiosks and stalls under the Ling Nam brand, as well as selling Ling Nam products alongside FHI’s other brands in digital channels.
Ling Nam currently has four locations: the original located at Alonzo Street in Binondo Manila, a branch in Baguio City, one in Jose Abad Santos Street in San Juan, and another in Banawe, Quezon City. A new branch is expected to open in Zamboanga City, which is expected to open in the third quarter of 2023.
The acquisition comes at a good time for FHI, which reported revenues of P515 million during the first quarter of 2023, a 56 percent increase compared to P330 million during the same period in 2022. The number is also 22 percent up from the first quarter of 2019, which was before the onset of the pandemic.
Net income was also up over 300 percent to P19.2 million versus P6.4 million during the first quarter last year.
As of end-March 2023, FHI had a network of more than 800 stores, and has added about 10 additional locations since then. The Group identified a number of areas for the expansion of its network both inside and outside of Metro Manila, one of which is the recently announced Ling Nam restaurant in Zamboanga, which is anticipated to open in the third quarter of 2023.
“We expect to keep putting in strong performances in the upcoming quarters through a combination of organic growth and contribution from recent acquisitions,” Yu said in a statement. “To promote sustainable growth and profitability, we will continue to invest in our brands, channels, customers, and employees. The company is also in various stages of discussion with additional prospective targets which fit our portfolio.”