Interview with Jollibee

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Jollibee is a South East Asian (Philippine) success story. You can even find Jolibee in the USA.

Tell us about how Jollibee got started.
Jollibee started in the Philippines in 1978. It initially started as a restaurant selling ice cream. Jollibee introduced other food items to the menu which complemented the ice cream such as sandwiches and noodle items. These items also became popular and well accepted. There came a point where the hot food items were outselling the ice cream. Among these hot food items, the burger turned out to be the top seller. Jollibee then shifted its core business from selling ice cream to selling burgers. Soon enough, other great tasting food was added to the menu including Chickenjoy and Spaghetti. With the market base increasing more branches were opened. Soon Jollibee had become the number one restaurant chain in the Philippines. In 1987, the company ventured into international operations by opening an outlet in Brunei Darussalam.

How many outlets do you have globally?
In South East Asia, the majority of outlets are in our home base, the Philippines. Aside from Brunei, we also have outlets in Vietnam and Singapore. In the Middle East, we have outlets in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and in the west, we have more than 25 outlets in the US. Globally, there are more than 900 Jollibee outlets. We are planning to expand our Middle East operations by opening in Dubai, UAE within this year and in Indonesia in the next 2 years.

When did Jollibee first start business in Brunei?
How many staff members and outlets do you have today? Jollibee started its Brunei operations in 1987, our first outlet was opened in Utama Bowling Centre and up until today, it is still thriving in business. We are now in our 27th year of happily serving Bruneians who make up 80% of our customers. We are very thankful to Brunei and the local patrons for making us a part of their dining experience for more than a quarter of a decade.

Currently, we have about 220 employees, 70% of which are locals. We have 12 outlets in the whole of Brunei, 10 in Bandar, 1 in Tutong and 1 in Seria. We will be opening one in Kuala Belait in the second half of the year.

What is Brunei’s favorite food at Jollibee?
Chicken Joy, our flagship product and our famous, well-loved fried chicken are Brunei’s favourite Jollibee food. We are getting 50% of our sales from Chicken Joy. Indeed it is truly Ayam Goreng Sedap Ranggup!

What are Jollibee’s plans for the next 3 years in Brunei?
Competition is getting tougher in Brunei with more players in the QSR industry coming in. At Jollibee we will still continue with our expansion plans. We intend to have more outlets opened in the next 3 years and would also hope to have opened our Drive Thru outlets by then. We are here to stay for the long haul and we intend to continue being a major player in the restaurant industry. Our goal is to continue doing what we have done for the past 27 years – to continue serving Brunei with quality food and service.

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This article was published in the Jul-Sept 2014 issue of Inspire Magazine. Download it here!