A Filipino-owned food chain and the pride of the Philippines, Jollibee is conquering new heights as it expands its grasp to different parts of the world. Let us know some amazing facts about this talked-of-the-town fast food chain, not only in the Philippines, but across the globe.
Here are some of the things you might not know with this Filipino fast food chain:
Started As Ice Cream Parlor
Just like other companies, Jollibee has its own humble beginnings. It started as a simple Magnolia ice cream shop opened by Tony Tan Caktiong and his family at Cubao, Quezon City in 1975.
Then it later began serving hot meals and sandwiches upon request from customers. These food items have become more popular than the original ice cream sold, thus, the family decided to turn the ice cream parlor into a fast food chain in 1978.
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Its first franchise was opened in Santa Cruz, Manila in 1979. And that’s where Jollibee started their growth and is able to create the Jollibee Foods corporation.
It’s Name Spelled As “Jolibe”
Yes, Jollibee did not get its name at birth. It used to be called “Jolibe”. The family decided to change the name as a strategy to improve the restaurant’s branding and extend its marketing.
This change was made possible by a marketing consultant, Manuel Lumba. Jollibee is actually derived from Jolly Bee. He is also the mind behind the famous logo of Jollibee, but not as refined as what you will see today.
Jollibee Surpassed McDonald’s
McDonald’s opened its franchise in the Philippines in 1981, just a few years after Jollibee was established. Back then, Tony Tan Caktiong was given two only options, which are to sell Jollibee to McDonald’s or become a McDonald’s franchise.
Caktiong decided to decline the offer and stated he would rather fight the fast food titan. He went to the United States to study how McDonald’s do their business. He found out that it is not easy to beat the established fast food restaurant.
Until he found out a way to overcome them, which is how their food tastes. As McDonald’s is designed to cater the American palate, Jollibee put up their A-game and created a menu that would cater Filipino taste.
The Filipino fast food chain has managed to overcome its biggest competitor in Manila and they are able to open multiple fast food chains around the world. They now have a franchise of fast food restaurants in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, East Asia (Hong Kong, Macau), North America, and Europe (Spain, Italy, UK).
The Logo Speaks For Itself
If you see the Jollibee mascots, the logo itself is the actual Jolly bee. When Manuel Lumba, the marketing mentor, was thinking about what design they would come up with, he thought about the hardworking bees. It represents the lovable traits of Filipinos – hard-working, good-hearted, busy and cheerful.
Of course, they have gotten some inspiration from the likes of Mickey Mouse, comic books, and Ronald MacDonald. Now, you will see the Jollibee mascot wearing a chef’s hat, a tuxedo jacket, white gloves and a big smile.
Yum Burger – Their Flagship Product
When Jollibee started serving hot meals and sandwiches on their menu back then, people would line up on getting Yum burgers rather than ice cream. This is why it became the fast food’s first flagship on their menus.
Right now, there are few alterations of the regular ground beef yum burger. You now have the Yumburger with cheese, the Aloha Yumburger which is served with a slice of pineapple, and the extra Big Yumburger.
The fast food’s first advertising campaign shows the Jollibee mascot claiming the burger came from the “a place between here and nowhere” – the Yumburg.
Aside from the famous burger, Jollibee serves a steak that is similar to a Salisbury steak, which is the burger steak. It is composed of fried hamburger patties that are served in mushroom gravy, along with a side of rice and/or mashed potatoes.
Just like the Yumburger, the burger steak also has its own variation. Jollibee created the Bistek Burger Steak in 2018. It is made with a hamburger covered in onions. A savory steak sauce inspired by the Filipino dish bistek tagalog is served with the hamburger..
Spaghetti Fast Food
Whenever you see the red and yellow bee, your experience will not be complete without trying the famous Jolly spaghetti. This offers a mouthful experience as their spaghetti is made with a Filipino-style sauce.
The Jolly spaghetti itself consists of noodles, ground meat, sliced hot dogs, banana ketchup, and cheese. This is a typical Filipino spaghetti sold at a cheap price and widely available in a Jollibee outlet.
Another noodle variety that is served after Jollibee operates is the Pancit palabok or Fiesta noodles. It is a rice noodle dish topped with ingredients such as pork chicharon, sautéed pork, tinapa flakes, shrimp, and sliced hard boiled eggs.
The Fried Chicken – Start of Jollibee
Though Yumburger is the first flagship product of Jollibee, their fried chicken is one of the stars in their menu. It is often compared to big and established names, such as KFC.
Known as Chickenjoy, this hand-breaded fried chicken is the fast food’s most popular dish to order. The secret marinade attracts many Filipinos and foreigners alike. It is served with a classic gravy, alongside with rice or potatoes.
Though Americans might not be fond of serving fried chicken with spaghetti, Filipinos loved it and it is one of the best combo meals that Jollibee offers. The year 2014 was a heartbreaking moment when the fast food chain needed to temporarily shut down 72 stores due to a slow-down in Jollibee’s production.
This affected how they produce their product and along with other items on their menus, Chickenjoy had been temporarily available by that time. This made Jollibee suffer a loss of 6 percent of their sales for the first week of August.
Their biggest rival, McDonald’s took advantage of the event and created a hashtag #chickensad. They made their tagline “#Chickensad? There’s a so good solution for that!” on their ads by that time.
Peach Mango Pie Redefines the Other Pies
McDonald’s apple pie found its match when Jollibee introduced their peach mango pie. Though McDonald’s used to have that fried McDonald’s apple pie that offers an old school, they stopped making it anymore. If you miss that perfect crunch, you may head out to the nearest Bee store and order their peach mango pie.
If you want to try other flavors of pies, Jollibee also offers a version of the Filipino snack, turon, and the Choco-Mallow pie. It is a s’more in hand pie form. You can also get their savory pies such as a tuna pie, spicy tuna pie, and cheese and corned beef pie. But you have to remember that other flavors may not be available in other countries.
A Dessert That Is A Mix Of Everything: Halo-Halo
If you are bored of the usual dessert offered in a fast food chain, then try Jollibee’s dessert start, the Halo-halo. The tagalog word translates to mix-mix and is made of different things including shaved ice, sweetened beans, fruit and condensed milk.
It is topped with a piece of flan and a scoop of ice cream. The ice cream commonly used would be of ube flavor. This gives the dessert its purple color once mixed.
Breakfast Joys to Start Your Day
To retain the fast food chain’s jolly image, their breakfast menu is called “Breakfast Joys.” This is an alteration of McDonald’s Egg muffin, served the Filipino style.
Tapa (beef tenders), tocino (sweet pork), longanisa (pork sausage), and corned beef are served alongside seasoned rice/garlic fried rice and a sunny side up fried egg. They also have a pancake sandwich which consists of a fried egg, bacon, and cheese, sandwiched in between two pancakes.
Their pancake sandwich is a healthier version of KFC’s double down as it uses boneless fried chicken tenders in place of a bun.
That ends our Jollibee facts about this famous Filipino fast food chain. I hope you found it a fun fact.
Is Jollibee Expanding?
Well, it is not a surprise if Jollibee outlets would sprout in every corner of the globe. Jollibee Foods Corporation managed to grow this fast food multinational chain, alongside with their other fast food businesses such as Chowking, Greenwich Pizza, Red Ribbon, and Mang Inasal.
JFC now operates more than 5,900 stores worldwide, including their system-wide retail sales that sums up to 82.1 billion pesos for the 2011 fiscal year. They are now the world’s largest Asia-based and founded fast food company.
When Jollibee opened in 1978, Tony Tan Caktion was uncertain of its future. But with the help of his management consultant Manuel Lumba and families, he was able to expand it and made a name of his own. It managed to withstand the pressure of opening McDonald’s in the country.
They offer different dishes on their menus, including burgers, deep fries (french fries), fried chicken, spaghetti and a lot of different desserts. If you ever managed to visit this store with a red dinner jacket mascot, make sure to check out these options.