Mr. Johnlu Koa, founder of The French Baker, had an academic career before his bread business took off. He earned his MBA from the University of the Philippines (UP) after earning a degree in Business Administration from the same university. While earning his master’s degree, Koa taught Business Administration in UP, and was later appointed Secretary of the College of Business Administration.
It was during a trip to Europe that he was inspired to create a boulangerie for Filipinos. In 1989, he opened the first French Baker in SM City North EDSA which offered a wide variety of bread products at very affordable prices.
In 1991, the French Baker launched its quick service restaurants. The menu includes Koa’s creations, and products are prepared fresh at the store. Koa imported German coffee and French tea, and provided a coffee garden in his stores in SM Southmall and Megamall, in keeping with the French café ambience.
Sixteen years into the business, The French Baker now has 30 stores in Luzon and two stores in Metro Cebu. It has built a name that emits prestige in the baking industry. The French Baker bagged the Agora Award for Company of the Year given by the Philippine Marketing Association in 1994. It was also chosen as one of the strongest brands by Superbrands Philippines for 2003-2004.
Mr. Koa was named one of The Outstanding Young Filipinos in 1996 for his commitment to his company and to the baking industry. He was also honored by the UP College of Business Administration with the Alumni Association Professional Award in the field of Entrepreneurship. He was also named one of the 500 Great Asians of the 21st Century by the Bibliotheque Worldwide Organization in the US.
Mr. Koa has not yet run out of business ideas for the future. His plans for expansion include standalone stores, as well as outlets in Hong Kong and China. He also plans to set up a flour mill that will cater to the specific needs of the local baking industry, and for The French Baker to be listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange.No tags for this post.