Is Jollibee Cheaper than McDonalds? An Expert's Perspective

Felix, an 18-year-old from Hoboken, New Jersey, is in Midtown Jollibee eating Chickenjoy for the first time. Both Jollibee and McDonald's offer economical meals that are mainly aimed at students and families. But when it comes to affordability, Jollibee wins this round. We plotted the locations of Jollibee vs McDonald's in Metro Manila to know exactly how their respective stores are facing.

The following figure illustrates the merger of the Jollibee and McDonald's branches. The percentage values shown indicate their relationships to the total number of branches of each brand in Metro Manila. The map also suggests that both brands use similar strategies to “deploy their units”, in this case, their branches to stay one ahead of the other. The map below identifies how close a branch is to its competitor.

Grey circles mean that a Jollibee store in that specific area is within a hundred meters of a McDonald's branch. That's good news for customers looking for options but aren't interested in exploring further afield just to satiate their burger cravings. While most stores are still within critical points, there are some outliers that are isolated but still committed to competition. The next two maps show areas where distances between competing stores are relatively large, and some stores have no competition within a two-kilometer radius.

When viewed in groups, a brand seems to dominate certain points. The areas controlled by Jollibee are represented by opaque white circles, with stores in the center. Their radii are drawn to scale to indicate their distances to the nearest McDonald's store. Transparent yellow circles on the map indicate areas where McDonald's has monopolized.

The neighboring areas of SM North and TriNoma in Quezon City, NAIA in Pasay City, the Santolan-Manggahan area in Pasig City and the vicinity of C5 in Taguig City are all under the clown's playground. Prices at Jollibee are similar to other fast foods, and they have stores in California, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Virginia and Washington State. In fact, Jollibee dominates its competitor from the surrounding areas in the Caloocan-Malabon-Navotas-Valenzuela region (CamaNava) and in Tondo, extending south to the streets of Sampaloc. Jollibee's dessert is deliciously fruity without being honeyed sweet, and skillfully avoids the false peach flavor you expect.

Even as McDonald's increases its expansion in Asia, Jollibee has held firm with nearly twice as many locations as McDonald's has in the country. A big part of Jollibee's secret sauce is its menu, which is eclectic by American fast-food standards. Worship of Jollibee is also on fire on Instagram, with more than half a million posts dedicated to the fast-food establishment. Although Jollibee stores are not clustered, McDonald's stores are less positioned and outnumbered.

Now, Jollibee is aiming to win more Americans, with plans to grow to 150 stores in the next five years. Diners looking for a classic Italian-American version of spaghetti will be amazed by the Jollibee version.

Tristan Gagliardo
Tristan Gagliardo

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

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