Friday, May 20 2022

But one of the fastest growing fast food chains in the United States is a company you may never have heard of.

A Jollibee location in Manila in 2000.

Photographer RA/HL/Reuters



Meet Jollibee, a global Filipino fast food company, otherwise known as “McDonald’s of the Philippines”.

Two pieces of bone-in fried chicken, one spicy and the other regular, both sitting on a plate in front of Jollibee branded packaging.

Two pieces of bone-in fried chicken, one spicy and the other regular.

Brittany Chang / Insider


Source: CNBC

And if you’ve never seen the brand in your neighborhood, that might change in the next few years.

The Jolly Spaghetti sitting on a paper container with red sauce, meat and cheese toppings.

Happy spaghetti.

Brittany Chang / Insider


Jollibee Foods Corp – the parent company of Jollibee which also owns brands like Smashburger – recently reported 2021 earnings roughly on par with its 2019 pre-pandemic earnings.

Benigno Aquino, the former president of the Philippines, smiles at a Jollibee site as workers pose and smile for cameras in Singapore in 2014.

The Benigno Aquino, the former president of the Philippines, at Jollibee in Singapore in 2014.

Edgar Su/Reuters



Source: Jollibee Ford Corporation

“Beyond 2022, our prospects for business growth are even more promising,” said Ernesto Tanmantiong, CEO of Jollibee Food Corp, in a press release, noting that he expects “very strong expansion” in North America, China, Southeast Asia and Europe. .

Bone-in chicken soaked in a container of sauce.  There are Jollibee brand wrappers surrounding the dipped fried chicken.

Chicken with bone and sauce.

Brittany Chang / Insider


The $5.5 billion fast food giant currently has 56 stores across the United States in cities including New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Chicago….

A statue of the Jollibee mascot standing next to a sign saying s

The Jollibee in Manhattan.

Brittany Chang / Insider


Source: Jollibee, Yahoo finance

By 2027, Jollibee aims to open 500 stores in North America, starting with at least 20 new locations by the end of 2022, a spokesperson told Insider.

Happy spaghetti.  Someone is holding chopsticks and pulling spaghetti up.

Happy spaghetti.

Brittany Chang / Insider


Announcement of new Jollibee openings has often foreshadowed massive local hype. In 2020, customers in Texas waited up to four hours just to grab a bite to eat at a new location, Sarah Blaskovich reported for the Dallas Morning News.

People line up for the Joillibees.

People queue at the first Jollibees to open in the UK in London in 2018.

Henry Nicholls/Reuters



Source: The Dallas Morning News

And it’s easy to see why fans would wait hours for Jollibee.

Jollibee Spicy Bone-in Fried Chicken.  There are little red flags coming out of the chicken showing

Jollibee Bone-In Fried Chicken.

Brittany Chang / Insider


The Filipino chain’s menu shares some similarities with Chick-fil-a and KFC: Jollibee specializes in fried chicken, whether it’s chicken sandwiches or fried chicken buckets.

A cross section of the deluxe fried chicken sandwich cut in half, showing lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise and a large slice of fried chicken.  There are Jollibee branded containers on the back.

The deluxe fried chicken sandwich.

Brittany Chang / Insider


It also offers the classic sides, such as gravy, mashed potatoes and fries.

Jollibee brand containers with fried chicken sticking out from the top, larger container.

A bucket of Jollibee Fried Chicken.

Brittany Chang / Insider


But unlike traditional American fast food, Jollibee also sells items like adobo rice, sweet spaghetti, and fiesta palabok (a noodle dish with garlic, pork, shrimp, and egg).

The Jolly Spaghetti sitting in a container.  The pasta is topped with red sauce, meat and cheese.

Happy spaghetti.

Brittany Chang / Insider


Source: Jollibee

I only got Jollibee once on a whim several years ago, and I can’t remember what I ordered from the drive-thru.

Jollibee bone-in fried chicken, regular and spicy.  The photo shows a close-up of the crispy chicken.

Jollibee bone-in fried chicken, regular and spicy.

Brittany Chang / Insider


So I decided to visit the location of the fast food chain in Manhattan to see what it was all about.

The exterior of the Jollibee in Manhattan.  A sign reads

The Jollibee in Manhattan.

Brittany Chang / Insider


Jollibee currently operates a location in Manhattan within walking distance of tourist hotspots like Times Square.

Jollibee Spicy Bone-in Fried Chicken.  There are little red flags coming out of the chicken showing

Jollibee Bone-In Fried Chicken.

Brittany Chang / Insider


It also recently announced plans to open an outpost at Grand Central Terminal in 2023 as part of its massive North American expansion plan.

A regular spicy fried chicken thigh sitting on a plate.  The spicy chicken has a little red flag that reads

Jollibee bone-in fried chicken, regular and spicy.

Brittany Chang / Insider


Source: Eater

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