Jollibee: A Taste to Remember
By Carina Cordero Brossy
Matthews, NC, United States
What do burgers, sweet pork, fried chicken, spaghetti, and tuna pies have in common? You can find all of these items and more on the menu of the largest fast-food chain in the Philippines.
How It Bee-gan
Jollibee, with more than 1,300 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 and a television show called Jollitown.
Since its early years, this brand has grown by acquiring other restaurants that specialize in such cuisines as Chinese and traditional American. From 2014 to 2019, Jollibee Foods’ revenue almost doubled, reaching 180 billion Philippine pesos ($3.8 billion in US dollars). 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. Thirty-seven are in the United States with more in the works. 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 need to look no farther than your neighborhood Jollibee.
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Learning Activity for Grades 4-7: Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division
1. Maria and her family are using Philippine pesos (PHP) to pay for their meal at their neighborhood Jollibee in Manila, Philippines. Maria’s family orders these items:
- one Amazing Aloha Yumburger with drink (PHP 185)
- two Chickenjoys with Palabok (PHP 165 for one)
- one Jolly Spaghetti with fries (PHP 90)
- two regular Coke floats (PHP 27 for one)
What is the total cost of the meal? Using a currency converter website like this one, find the current PHP to US dollar (USD) exchange rate to convert the total cost from PHP to USD. How do the costs of these fast-food meals compare to fast-food prices in the US? Visit the Jollibee website to view food descriptions.
2. Roberto wants to open a new Jollibee franchise in Manila. He projects his annual gross sales will be PHP 150,000. However, Roberto will have to subtract these costs:
- food costs of PHP 43,576
- labor costs of PHP 34,566
- rent costs of PHP 22,893
- insurance/general administrative costs of PHP 8,450
What will be Roberto’s net operating income in both PHP and USD?
Social Justice Question
Researchers have linked a fast food diet to obesity and other negative health effects. In addition, fast food corporations increase food insecurity by undermining local control of food production. Lower-income neighborhoods tend to have higher concentrations of fast food restaurants. What do you think could be possible solutions to this problem?
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