Jollibee opens first store in Canada

More than 70,000 Filipinos in Winnipeg, Canada can now enjoy the taste of Pinoy fast food as Jollibee opens its first ever location in the country.

Despite the sub-zero temperature, hundreds of Filipinos lined up during the first day of operations of the giant Asian fast food chain’s Winnipeg branch. This comes as no surprise as those loyal customers had waited long for the much anticipated opening.

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Jollibee’s first Canadian store is now open.

According to reports, people lined up as early as 10:30 p.m. the night before the opening. Among the expected favorites in the menu are Jolly Crispy Chicken (Chickenjoy), sweet-style spaghetti (Jolly Spaghetti), pineapple-topped burgers, halo-halo, and peach-mango pie.

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Numerous Filipinos line up to enjoy fast-food menu on the eve of the store’s grand opening day.

“We are very encouraged by the turnout and excitement at the grand opening of Canada’s first Jollibee,” said Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC) Group President for North America and Foreign Franchise Brands Jose Miñana. “It brings us great joy that we are able to bring a taste of home to Filipinos and a new culinary experience to Canadians.”

The Winnipeg store is the brand’s first ever in Canada and the 35th in North America. It was an addition to the more than 671 overseas stores of the chain and over 2,600 outlets in the Philippines.

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Jollibee executives and guests gather around a giant bucket of crispy fried chicken.

Another Jollibee Winnipeg branch is set to open in 2017, along with two more stores in other cities in Canada.

Jollibee started in 1975 as an ice cream parlor in downtown Manila. It eventually transformed into a burger joint before it emerged as a fast-food giant, undisputedly dominating a local market that is also targeted by global giants like McDonalds and KFC.

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Jollibee North America Head Jose Miñana (left) poses with Jollibee mascot, Winnipeg City Mayor Brian Bowman, and City Councilor Scott Gillingham.

In 2017, JFC aims to open more than 300 outlets, to top the actual number of stores it inaugurated this year (2016). Jollibee Chairman Tony Tan Caktiong recently disclosed that the company’s focus for expansion would remain in its home front, the U.S., and China.

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All smiles for Jollibee in Canada.

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