Winnipeggers are thrilled and excited upon learning that Jollibee will open it’s first branch in Canada in Winnipeg. When the news came out about the opening of Jollibee, Facebook and other social media sites were bombarded with posts about it; when the management finally put up the “Opening Soon” signs, the place became an instant selfie spot in Winnipeg… And when the opening day was announced everyone had their own countdown. Finally, it’s the 15th of December, Canadians will finally taste chickenjoy and peach-mango pie!
Jollibee is Philippines’ answer to McDonalds, is the largest fast food chain in the country with humble beginnings as an Ice Cream Parlor which later grew into an emerging global brand. At present, Jollibee is operating a network of over 750 stores in the Philippines and prior to opening in Canada, Jollibee already has international locations in Brunei, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Vietnam, the United Arab Emirates and the United States. Jollibee president and CEO Tony Tan Caktiong has previously revealed that aside from Canada, Jollibee also plans to open and expand in Italy, United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, Malaysia and Oman.
As more posts about the opening of Jollibee flooded various social media accounts of Winnipeggers, maybe a lot of our non-Filipino friends were wondering what is it with Jollibee that make us Pinoys in Winnipeg go crazy about it. Let us try to enumerate some of the most common reasons why we love the national bee of the Philippines.
Most Filipinos from generation X to millennials grew up with Jollibee. It is very rare that you will find someone in the Philippines who doesn’t like Jollibee or who doesn’t know Jollibee and his friends. As soon as a child can eat solid food his or her parents will bring him or her to the nearest Jollibee branch in their area. And most birthday parties especially the child’s first birthday or seventh birthday is celebrated in a Jollibee restaurant, there are even adults who still host kiddie parties in Jollibee. I can even recall that we even have holiday (Christmas) parties or farewell parties in grade school that we’ll have Jollibee meals delivered in our school by the Jollibee mascot himself.
Jollibee is a “comfort-place” to most Filipinos. As a child who grew-up with budget-conscious parents, eating in a fast-food like Jollibee is something that my Dad and my Mom can squeeze into their budget and because Jollibee offers meal that is affordable, Jollibee is always on top of the place to go. And I am sure that a lot of Filipino families will agree with me. That is why whether it’s an ordinary weekend, special events like first date or a milestone, Jollibee is the first place that comes to every one’s mind. In the Philippines, a lot of Jollibee stores are situated near the universities, market places, churches and inside the mall, whenever people finds a hard time to choose what to take to school or work or where to meet with their friends after work, Jollibee is the place to be. I can still recall the time when my husband and I are still dating and whenever we cannot agree which restaurant to go or what food we like to eat, we will end up in the nearest Jollibee restaurant because it’s the only place where the food the we like is served and when we had our first child we would go to Jollibee is still part of our lives, whenever we bring our kid out, Jollibee will be our last stop. Indeed, Jollibee is where most family memories are made.
Jollibee serves food that captures the Philippine palate perfectly. Jollibee’s menu is very Filipino but has Westerners’ twist. It’s flagship product – Chickenjoy is the best tasting fried chicken for most Filipinos, it’s best dipped in the gravy that comes with its serving (but you’ll surely order extra gravy) is crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Hence the tag line “panlasang Filipino at home sa Jollibee” became really popular because it really encapsulated what each Filipinos think about the food served by Jollibee.
Jollibee commercials are classic. Who would forget the song “I love you, Sabado! Pati na rin Linggo!” or the little cute girl Serena Darymple chanting “Isa pang chicken joy! “or the little cute girl trying to find her missing doll saying, “Mommy, nawawala si Jennifer”? Because most Filipinos grew up with Jollibee, we all grew up with Jollibee’s TV commercials that never fail to warm our hearts or make us smile… admit it or not, there are still times that these TVCs still playback in our heads and once we heard the commercial jingle you can’t help but sing along because you know the jingle by heart.
Jollibee is every balikbayan’s first stop. Why did the news about having Jollibee in Winnipeg made a big noise in the Filipino community? This is not unusual, in any country where there are Filipinos, its always a big news when a Jollibee opens abroad, for every Filipino, Jollibee is a “taste of home”. Jollibee is not just a Filipino restaurant, for Filipinos especially those who are working or living abroad, it is a symbol of the Philippines, it is a sign that home is within reach. Hence, whenever a Filipino who lives or works abroad comes to the Philippines, his or her first stop will be Jollibee because for us Pinoys, when you get to see Jollibee and eat Chickenjoy or Palabok Fiesta it is a confirmation that you are really home!
How about you what do you love most about Jollibee?