What do burgers, sweet pork and rice, fried chicken, spaghetti, and tuna pies have in common? You can find all of these items and more on the menu of the Philippine’s largest fast-food chain!
Origins of Jollibee
Jollibee, with 890 restaurants primarily in the South Asian island-nation, has established itself as an iconic and highly profitable food chain. Originally opened as an ice cream parlor in 1975, its founder Tony Tan Cacktiong took on the Philippine’s first McDonald’s in 1981 by creating his own fast-food chain. With a large dose of national pride and a menu for all local and personal tastes, his creation now outsells even global giant McDonald’s. The company’s main spokesperson is the Jolli bee, a colorful red bee who is now popular enough to have his own Twitter account (@Jollibee) and television show called Jollitown.
Bee-ginning to Dominate
Since its early years, this brand has grown by acquiring other restaurants that specialize in such cuisines as Chinese and traditional American. In the past 6 years, Jollibee Foods’ sales and net profits have increased by around 70%, to 118 billion Philippine pesos ($2.5 billion) and 5.4 billion pesos ($54 million), respectively. Philippine call-centers and other outsourcing businesses have given consumers more money in their pockets, which they seem to want to spend on Big Yums and Chickenjoy.
Like any powerful fast-food chain, this brand reaches well beyond its local origins. Hungry fans can find its signature dishes in over 130 branches around the world — 33 in the United States. So, the next time you’re craving a burger with a side of Palabok Fiesta Noodles (noodles in garlic sauce with pork, shrimp, parsley flakes and egg), you’ll soon look no farther than your neighborhood Jollibee.
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