The first success story I wrote about involved Arnel Pineda and Journey. The Jollibee Philippines success story goes back much further. In fact, it all started in 1975.
The Birth of Jollibee Philippines
Tony Tan Caktiong, a Filipino of Chinese descent, and his family opened a Magnolia Ice Cream parlor in Cubao (a subdivision in Quezon City, Philippines). The original name of the parlor was “Jolibe”.
Sometime in 1978, Tony Tan and his family engaged the services of a management consultant who shifted the focus of the business from ice cream to hamburgers. The name “Jolibe” was reformed to be “Jollibee”, a combination word formed from “jolly” and “bee”. The business was incorporated as “Jollibee Foods Corporation” and owned solely by Filipinos.
Improving Jollibee Philippines
Whether they knew it or not at the time, the McDonald’s franchise from the US was preparing to invade the Philippines. After incorporating the business, Tony Tan and his consultant spent some time in the US observing other fast-food chains and attending conventions.
Both before departing and after returning to the Philippines, Joe Tan’s consultant helped to redesign the Jollibee stores into fast-food operations with drive-throughs. By the time McDonald’s arrived here, they had nothing new to offer the Filipino residents.
Jollibee – A Household Name
In 1981, Jollibee was listed as one of the top 1,000 Philippine corporations. By 1987, it was in the top 100. In 2001, Jollibee was recognized as one of the “Top 20 Best Employers in Asia” and number 1 in the Philippines. It was listed as one of Asia’s most admired companies.
There may be more Jollibee stores in the Philippines than any other fast-food chain. Here in Olongapo City, there are four of them, contrasting with only two McDonald’s stores. The only other chain I see a lot of is “Chow King”, which is also owned by the Jollibee Foods Corporation.
In 2005, Jollibee had more than 500 stores in the Philippines and 25 in other countries. McDonald’s had about 250 outlets in the Philippines, according to a public relations consultant for the chain.
Aside from the Philippines, Jollibee also had stores in the US, Taiwan, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Saipan, Brunei, and Vietnam. I have no idea how far it has expanded since 2005.
Local and Personal Impressions
When I gave one of my sisters-in-law cash for her birthday, the first thing she did was to take her son (my nephew) to Jollibee. That’s usually how it works around here. My in-laws prefer Jollibee over McDonald’s for the burgers and fries, over KFC for the chicken, and over everywhere else for the spaghetti.
Other than the burgers, I have no complaints about the food. I don’t like the flavor of the mayonnaise they put on the burgers and I prefer the Big Macs from McDonald’s. My son, who stops by Jollibee either on the way to school (college) or on the way home, likes the pancake sandwiches and Chickenjoy. Jollibee Philippines is here to stay.