What Does Jollibee Symbolize?

Beyond just enticing customers to buy their food products with the image of a cheerful bee, the mascot Jollibee was created to represent Filipinos. Known for being some of the happiest people in the world, Filipinos are hardworking and cheerful, much like bees. In 1975, Tony Tan, with the help of his family, opened an ice cream shop in Quezon City, Philippines. The logo featured blue and white, likely inspired by the cold charm of ice.

The name of the store was written in a beautiful script that imitated handwriting. The “M” and the final “wore extended ends, which formed underlines. They were guided by a smiling and dancing bee in a tuxedo jacket, to the promise of joy. Today, Jollibee has more than 1000 locations around the world, with dozens spread across the U. S.

and plans to expand to triple digits in the next 5 years. The first Manhattan-based venue opened its doors last fall with a lot of fanfare, including two mega fans who lined up 20 hours in advance to be the first to get their fix of Filipino fried chicken in the Big Apple. Selfies are shamelessly taken with the bee mascot, who is literally a cheerful bee. Fans can be found everywhere, eager for giant cubes of rival KFC birds called Chicken Joys, one of the chain's most iconic menu dishes, and sweet spaghetti plates. The cult of Jollibee is not isolated; it is everywhere.

With additional advice from a marketing company hired by Tony Tan, a chef's hat and tuxedo jacket were added to symbolize quality. The result was an adorable pet that customers identified with from day one. Selecting and using the right colors in logos is an important part of branding and marketing. In the fast food industry, red is obviously a must as it proves to be effective in connecting with customers.

Also, no one would argue that red logos are hard to ignore. In the Middle East, Jollibee's main market is Filipino workers abroad, while in Vietnam it is the local population. The most obvious American equivalent of Jollibee's peach and mango pie is McDonald's apple pie, but unlike McDonald's, Jollibee still fries its delicious hand pies. Although a trip to a Jollibee overseas retailer is an imperfect substitute for reuniting with loved ones in the Philippines, I imagine it remains a key source of comfort for nostalgic Filipinos during these times. What is doubly impressive is that Jollibee was able to incorporate key aspects of the taste of Philippine cuisine but did so in a scalable way. You may have been to McDonald's or Wendy's or be obsessed with In N Out Burger but if you're like most Americans you've never been to Jollibee - the rapidly expanding Philippine fast-food chain around the world.

That day gave me a tremendous sense of pride and a greater understanding of what Jollibee means to people - especially children. Jollibee's spaghetti - known as Jolly Spaghetti - consist of noodles, ground beef, sliced sausages, banana ketchup and cheese. In the United States, Magnolia Ice Cream spots are not related to Jollibee. Another crucial factor behind Jollibee's popularity among Filipinos was its ability to understand and satisfy their flavor palette. Jollibee understood these preferences from the start and reflected this in offerings such as its Halo Halo - with Ube ice cream and milk flan - as well as its popular Jolly spaghetti made from banana ketchup. The ice cream used by Jollibee and found in most halogens is bright purple and that color comes from ube - a purple sweet potato.

For example, a quick search for Jollibee on TikTok yields many memes and videos featuring its mascot. Jollibee began in Manila in the late 1970s and by mid-1980s they dominated the local market. And to that end it's worth noting that Jollibee's parent company - Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC) - is also growing other Asian food chains such as Pho 24 in Vietnam; Chowking in China; Mang Inasal in the Philippines; and more recently Tim Ho Wan in Hong Kong. Sam began making more frequent trips to the Philippines as his career increased then became involved with charitable donations partnering with Jollibee to provide meals to underserved children. With a menu full of fast food with a Filipino twist - Jollibee is like KFC crossed with McDonald's with a side of banana ketchup.

Tristan Gagliardo
Tristan Gagliardo

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

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