Positioning itself as the "Best fried chicken in Asia, " the Philippines' largest fast food operator, Jollibee, said Wednesday it recently opened two new overseas branches. As it expands, it brings along with it Filipino flavors that are alien to Europe and North America.
One of the new branches is in Liverpool, in the U.K., the birthplace of The Beatles while the other is in the Greater Dallas Area in West Plano, Texas. The expansion is also defying the COVID-19 pandemic.
Four in every ten customers during Jollibee Liverpool's opening week went to the store out of curiosity and had not heard of the brand before. This is "striking" said Jollibee Foods Corp President for Europe, Middle East, Asia, and Australia (EMEAA) Dennis Flores.
On fast food chicken alone, Brits spend 1.2 billion euros every year, according to Flores. That's roughly P69 billion, which can buy 690 million one-piece Chickenjoy meals, enough to feed the entire Philippine population at least six times.
Jollibee's goal is to crack the world top five of fastfood led by McDonald's, KFC, Subway, Pizza Hut and Starbucks. By most accounts, it has stayed true to its sweet burger recipe and offers Filipinos' take on spaghetti with meat sauce -- red, sweet and with hotdog bits.
It is also offering Filipino snack staples like Palabok (called Fiesta Noodles outside the country) and Halo-Halo, both of which have been featured in food vlogs on YouTube.
While offering Jollibee the brand, it also acquired foreign brands to increase its sales -- The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and Smashburger.
Jollibee founder Tony Tan Caktiong travels the world "to eat" in search for acquisitions, his CEO successor saidin a recent speech. Call him "chief taste officer."
"Tony goes out around the world to eat...Once he spots a restaurant chain with superior tasting products, the next criteria is if the concept is scalable,” Ernesto Tan Mantiong said.
Happy Friday! Will your weekend plans include going to the newly opened @Jollibee in Liverpool? It’s a Filipino fast food chain and it’s the only branch in the UK to open outside of London. They’re famous for their Chickenjoy fried chicken and sweet Jolly Spaghetti (pictured). pic.twitter.com/OZ1rF82jFS— Food That's Delicious Liverpool (@FlipThatsDelish) September 11, 2020