From Part-Time Service Crew to Full-Time Area Manager: Amizah Catubig’s Journey with Jollibee Foods Corporation

Monday, April 01, 2024

Alagang Jollibee. With a 20-year career in Jollibee, Amizah is grateful to be part of a company like the Jollibee Group that genuinely looks after its employees’ careers and well-being. Jollibee Group has long committed to providing its employees a nourishing professional workplace culture while sustaining its growth. The company continues to reinforce its global standing after receiving TIME Magazine's World's Best Companies award and its second Gallup Exceptional Workplace Award in 2023. 

Amizah Jobaina Catubig holds the distinction of being the first female manager of Jollibee Basilan. On top of that, she has led the store to receive its first Gold Award from the company's Food, Safety, and Cleanliness (FSC) Standards audit within the first year of becoming its manager.

Amizah started as a part-time service crew and now oversees seven Jollibee stores in Davao as an Area Manager (AM). 

Today, among all the milestones in her 20-year career in Jollibee Group, she counts how she started her career at the Jollibee Climaco branch in Zamboanga City on January 5, 2003, as one of the most memorable.

Driven to push through. Amizah had humble beginnings at Jollibee, failing the application twice for an operations management trainee position before finally passing the screening. But once taken in, she resolved to make it to the top, from part-time service crew to becoming a training manager in only a year to managing seven Jollibee stores in Davao today. 

A colorful career in Mindanao
It took Amizah, or Jov to her colleagues, three tries before landing a job in Jollibee in 2003.

“Out of the 18 applicants at that time, I was blessed to become one of the three who passed and got hired,” she said.

In 2004, she became the cluster's training manager and led staff training and deployment for new stores in the Zamboanga City area. Three years later, she became an Assistant Manager.

Amizah remained in the Mindanao region for the next eight years, taking on both exciting and challenging stores. She served as Officer-in-Charge of the Jollibee Zamboanga Tumaga kiosk, a branch struggling with sales then. She became the first female Restaurant Manager from Zamboanga at Jollibee Basilan, Jollibee’s 500th store. After this, she had supervisory stints in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay; Vamenta and Kasuwagan, Cagayan de Oro; and Pershing, Zamboanga. 

She continued her stint in downtown Zamboanga by handling clusters in Pagadian and Ozamis in 2017 and those in South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat in 2021 at the height of the pandemic.

Facing the challenge. Around a year after she took over the Jollibee Basilan branch, Amizah, and the team worked on their goals and eventually earned a double 100% rating in the corporate audit and bagged its first Gold Award in FSC in 2011.

A challenge matched with resolve
Of all these stints, Amizah considers the one at Jollibee Basilan in 2010 as the most challenging because of a bombing incident at the park in front of the store, which claimed the lives of ten individuals and sowed fear within the community. 

“Nasa news parati ang Basilan during this time. There were bombings and threats in [the] town. Rizal Park, which is just in front of the store, was bombed,” Amizah recalled. (“Basilan was always in the news during this time.”)

“We felt the impact in the store. We witnessed [how] the customers panicked,” she added.

As a result, store sales suffered. To overcome this, their team beefed up the store’s security workforce and requested police visibility within store premises.

“We posted merchandising materials strategically for awareness. We strengthened store Food Service Cleanliness (FSC) Standards and implemented cost-saving initiatives. Our frontliners communicated to our customers in the local dialect for them to feel at home,” she added.

A year after the incident, Jollibee Basilan achieved its first Gold Award in FSC, the prestigious Presidential Awards for Performance Excellence (PAPE). Apart from that, they also achieved a double 100% rating in the corporate audit, another first for the branch, which covers auditing of internal processes. 

FSC is Jollibee’s trademark of service: Food (F) served to the public must meet the company’s excellence standards, or it will not be served at all; the Service (S) must be fast and courteous; Cleanliness (C), from kitchen to utensils, must always be maintained. 

PAPE, meanwhile, signifies the highest level of accomplishment in Jollibee, characterized by the store team’s achievement of the target sales, profit, FSC rating, and operations team performance requirements.

“We were able to turn a negative store into a profitable one,” Amizah happily noted.

Embracing cultures and ensuring standards
Amizah ensured that she embraced diversity and inclusivity in the Jollibee branches she handled.

“I am in the position to influence others to embrace the differences, [to] respect the person’s culture and religion. Inaaral ko ‘yung dialect saan man ako ma-assign to really blend in with the team.” (“I learned their dialect wherever I was assigned to really blend in with the team.”) “Pinapakita ko sa gawa. At pinaparamdam ko that we are fair to all,” she said. (“I show by doing. And I make them feel that we are fair to all.”)

All seven Davao stores she currently supervises have received valuable feedback from customers in the Muslim community, particularly for their pork-free offerings that are labeled accordingly on the menu.

Pride in Alagang Jollibee
Jollibee’s unique brand of care extends not only to its customers, but even so to its employees. 

“Gumanda ang buhay namin because of Jollibee,” she revealed. (We have a better life today because of Jollibee.”)

The eldest in the family, Amizah supported the college education of her three younger siblings, who are now all gainfully employed. She was also able to build her family’s home. 

Since her promotion to Area Manager in 2016, she has been extending help to the community where she lives. “I personally pay the utilities of our mosque monthly,” she said.

Born to OFW parents—her mother as a house helper and her father as a family driver in the Middle East—Amizah was raised by her grandparents. She grew up knowing how difficult life could be. 

“Natuto kaming makisalamuha at the age of 5. Nakitira kami, palipat-lipat sa bahay ng lola at tita namin,” she said. (“We had to learn how to deal with people at age 5. We lived with our grandmother and aunt and would move between their houses.”)

Alagang Jollibee is how she refers to the way the company cares for its employees.
“Ang Alagang Jollibee ay madadama mo,” she said. (“You can feel the Alagang Jollibee,” she said). “It fosters a culture that values respect and fairness.”

Amizah is proud to be part of Jollibee. “I take [that] pride where I go, that I work in a company that values its people and promotes Filipino values,” she said. 

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