Jollibee: The Fast-Growing Asian Restaurant Chain in the US

With 70 stores in North America, 1500 stores worldwide and many more to come, Jollibee Foods Corporation is proud to be one of the largest and fastest growing Asian restaurant companies in the world. The flagship brand, however, as its name reflects, is the fast food chain Jollibee. Technomic* has consistently cited Jollibee among its 500 best restaurants in the United States. The chain has more than 1,400 locations around the world, with a presence in Europe, the Middle East, East Asia, Southeast Asia and North America.

It was founded in 1978 in the Philippines, but did not arrive in the United States until 1998 in Daly City, California. Of all those stores, only 66 are based in the U. S. UU.

And the rest of North America, but that's about to change. Jollibee plans to reach 300 locations in North America by 2024, well beyond the 12 Canadian states and four provinces in which it currently resides. This year alone, the brand will open 28 locations, including downtown Chicago, downtown Times Square and the first store in downtown Vancouver. Once they are filled, the plan is to expand beyond those areas, and Dela Cruz believes there is demand for such a movement. The executive says that there is a growing interest and acceptance of flavors by international brands that arrive with new flavors and varied menus. Maribeth Dela Cruz, President of Jollibee North America, says authenticity will be critical as chain expands.

To build an international brand in the U. With that in mind, Jollibee's goal is to offer a unique and differentiated product to differentiate itself from US players. Jollibee is renowned for its fried chicken, plus a burger made with an exclusive dressing and spaghetti topped with Jollibee's sweet sauce and thick slices of ham, minced meat and hot dogs. The menu also showcases the brand's Philippine roots, such as the Fiesta de Palabok, which Jollibee describes as a “traditional dish of Filipino noodles topped with garlic sauce, crushed pork rind, shrimp and egg.” In addition to authenticity, Dela Cruz highlights Jollibee's ability to “serve joy in every way we can” to consumers. The company calls it FSC or food, service and cleaning standards.

Jollibee plans to build stores with double drive-thrus, more outdoor seating, curbside parking spaces and designated mobile ordering areas within restaurants. Operationally, Jollibee has faced the same headwinds as most of the industry. Dela Cruz points out that rising commodity costs, particularly with chicken, has been a challenge but adds that Jollibee has forged strong relationships with suppliers especially for the raw materials that make up its best-selling items. In terms of labor, the US president says that turnover has remained relatively low which she attributes to a culture that focuses on a spirit of family and fun. For newer stores, the application rate has been slower but that just means that Jollibee must remain competitive with salary rates and the training and development opportunities it offers says Dela Cruz. And then once the workers are in it's a matter of making sure they stay engaged.

Dela Cruz has found that labor shortages affecting other industries have affected Jollibee. If you're not familiar with Philippine fast-food chain Jollibee that's likely to change soon. The company currently has 66 modest units across North America located in just a dozen US states and four Canadian provinces according to QSR magazine. But the brand's worldwide popularity spans its native Asia the Middle East and Europe as Jollibee operates more than 1 400 restaurants worldwide. Its presence in North America is now set to grow with new plans for massive expansion in the next decade.

Despite the fact that the fast food empire Jollibee has a cult following the chain has not yet opened a branch in the Portland area. Located at 5033 NW Loop 410 it is also Jollibee's first store in south central Texas as the brand has three other stores in the greater Houston area. The restaurant sells everything from fried chicken to Filipino desserts although its star dish is “Chickenjoy” a piece of fried chicken accompanied by spaghetti dipped in tomato sauce and topped with slices of hot dogs and ground beef. More restaurant options are reopening and are available but the executive says Jollibee can counter that with new customers it won during the pandemic when 95 percent of its stores remained open.

We took a look at several market performance indicators over the past year to get an idea of how the absence of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund affected U. Today Jollibee will open its 21st store in California located at 8436 Mira Mesa Boulevard in San Diego. Dela Cruz says customers have asked Jollibee to reopen indoor dining and stores have complied but executive acknowledges self-service will remain a priority going forward. Jollibee the dominant market leader in the Philippines has embarked on an aggressive international expansion plan.

In 1998 that pace will change and it is likely that Jollibee will soon eclipse the presence of other Asian fast-food chains in the United States. But Jollibee is confident that the brand will soon grow more and gain followers in regions without a large Philippine or South Asian population. And until now customers have recognized that there is a warm and hospitable atmosphere in all restaurants.

Tristan Gagliardo
Tristan Gagliardo

Proud social media ninja. Bacon expert. Unapologetic gamer. Proud zombie nerd. Freelance pop culture scholar.

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