Jollibee (& Fast Food In the Philippines)

16 12 2009

In class we were asked, what tastes like home? I was born in Metro Manila, Philippines, the capital and pretty much big city of that country. Manila City is essentially my home. So what tastes like home to me? That would be Jollibee.

Jollibee or Jollibee Foods Corporation, as it is called in business indexes worldwide, is a fast-food restaurant chain based in the Philippines. Jollibee is an American-style fast-food restaurant with Filipino-influenced dishes specializing in burgers, spaghetti, chicken and some local Filipino dishes. In the Philippines, Jollibee serves Coca-Cola products for its beverages; in overseas markets, the chain serves Pepsi products.

It was started by, Tony Tan Caktiong and his family as a Magnolia Ice Cream parlor from Bankerohan, Davao City, to Cubao in 1975, Magnolia is a very popular brand of ice cream in the Philippines. These ice cream parlors were named Jollibee. In 1978, Manuel C. Lumba convinced the Caktiong family to shift the business focus from ice cream to hamburgers, after his studies showed that a much larger market was waiting to be filled. Lumba became Caktiong’s first business and management advisor.

As the business expanded, the name Jollibee became a more common name around the Philippines. Here in America, Fast-Food is pretty much the cheapest meal you can find. In the Philippines however, Fast-Food chains are not the cheapest, as there are street food vendors that serve as the bottom of the restaurant industries, I would say Fast-Food restaurants are in the middle. Birthday parties would never happen at a Fast-Food restaurant, here in America, but in the Philippines it is very common. It is very common for children’s birthday parties to happen in a Jollibee. I remember this is where I had my seventh birthday party. It was a fun to eat at Jollibee. It is often a popular hang-out spot for high-school and college students after their school days. Jollibee is a staple in the local Filipino’s mindset. “mag-Jollibee tayo!”

One very interesting thing about Jollibee is that it was the only local Fast Food Chain that was able to outsell McDonald’s worldwide.  So in the Philippines, as far as fast food goes, more people go to Jollibee then McDonald’s. Nowhere else in the world does that happen, McDonald’s usually dominates every country’s local fast-food market, except in the Philippines.

Now, Jollibee has become one of the biggest fast-food chains in the world with 1,804 stores worldwide and total sales of more than one billion US dollars. In Metro Manila, Philippines, where I grew up, Jollibee was absolutely everywhere, and unavoidable, since social gatherings would always take place in a Jollibee. There would be sometimes 2 or 3 Jollibee’s in one Mall. All that being said, Jollibee Fast-Food Items, really taste like home to me.

-Jonathan Nolasco

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