Is Jollibee Famous in the USA?

With 70 stores in North America, 1500 stores worldwide and many more to come, Jollibee's mission is to spread the pleasure of eating.


has consistently cited Jollibee among its 500 best restaurants in the United States. Redbook Magazine ranked Jollibee as the fourth best fast-food fried chicken in the US, surpassing McDonald's and KFC. Popeyes topped the list, followed by Chick-Fil-A and Hattie B's, all fast food brands born in the US.

On a cold day in New York City, a line of people formed outside an unpretentious building near Times Square. A man stood guard by the door, allowing only a few people in at a time. Jollibee's menu is eclectic by American fast-food standards, with fan favorites like Fiesta Noodles, Breakfast Joy Corned Beef and Philippine peach and mango pie or Halo-Halo. Prices are similar to other fast foods, and Jollibee has stores in California, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Virginia and Washington State.

Jollibee's strategy in the US is to open stores in areas with denser Filipino American populations to give them a familiar feel of home. Chickenjoy is even better than Kentucky Fried Chicken according to some. Worship of Jollibee is also on fire on Instagram, with more than half a million posts dedicated to the fast-food establishment. Jollibee Foods Corporation is proud to be one of the largest and fastest growing Asian restaurant companies in the world.

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 US until 1998 in Daly City, California. Of all those stores, only 66 are based in the US and the rest of North America. This year alone, Jollibee 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. Maribeth Dela Cruz, President of Jollibee North America says authenticity will be critical as chain expands. To build an international brand in the US 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 Fiesta de Palabok which Jollibee describes as a “traditional dish of Filipino noodles topped with garlic sauce, crushed pork rinds, 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 such as rising commodity costs particularly with chicken but has forged strong relationships with suppliers especially for raw materials that make up its best-selling items. In terms of labor turnover has remained relatively low which Dela Cruz attributes to a culture that focuses on a spirit of family and fun. For newer stores application rate has been slower but that just means that Jollibee must remain competitive with salary rates and training and development opportunities it offers says Dela Cruz. Labor shortages affecting other industries have also affected Jollibee such as some restaurants being ready to open but having to wait a long time for city inspectors.

Tristan Gagliardo
Tristan Gagliardo

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

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