Posts Tagged ‘globalization’
For anyone familiar with the cuisine of the Philippines, this is big news: Jollibee, a Manila-based fast food chain that’s widely seen as the country’s answer to McDonalds, is planning to open a restaurant in Toronto. The company, which already has about 30 stores in the U.S., has chosen Toronto for their first Canadian store, with their CFO saying they hope to be open here within the year.
For those previously unacquainted with the chain: The menu spans North American fast-food classics with a few local favourites. (Their mascot, naturally, is a jolly bee.)
Part of a large overseas expansion plan to set up restautants in the Middle East, Europe, and Japan, this seems to be the chain’s second attempt to expand overseas. Robin Levinson’s February 2014 Canadian Business article notes how the first push into the North American market was flawed, trying to compete head-on with established giants, and suggests that targeting urban centres with large Filipino populations is part of Jollibee’s North American strategy.
When its first location opens here next year, Canadians will finally be able to enjoy the distinctive pineapple-topped Aloha burger that has helped make Jollibee the Philippines’ largest fast-food chain. But the restaurant took its time expanding globally, having opened in the U.S. 15 years before considering coming north of the border.
Founded in 1975 as a single ice cream parlour just outside downtown Manila, Jollibee is today the flagship brand of a family-run empire, spanning 2,700 stores and nine brands around the world.
Jose Miñana, who heads U.S. operations for the company, says Jollibee initially limited its expansion to just those areas with large Filipino populations. But the company later decided to aggressively pursue “mainstream” clientele, opening branches in further-flung locations and tweaking recipes to cater to North American tastes.
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After opening its doors in Toronto, Jollibee hopes to expand to other cities in Canada—like Vancouver and Winnipeg—with high Filipino populations.
Unlike in the Philippines, where Jollibee is a franchise, all of its North American stores are company-owned. Although franchises would allow Jollibee to expand faster, Miñana says that’s not the point: “We want to enter there with the Jollibee brand the way we want it done—really right.”