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Why Jollibee Became An International Fast Food Empire Loved By Canadians

Why Jollibee Became An International Fast Food Empire Loved By Canadians

If there’s one thing Filipinos love and enjoy with all their heart, it’s the fast food chain that makes use of a bee in a suit for their mascot. Jollibee is known as a crowd favourite, loved by children and adults alike. They have been serving for so long that most of the country had been having Jollibee since they were just kids.

In the present time, they have a chain in almost every part of the Philippines spreading even across countries capturing more than just the hearts of Filipinos with their ever unique taste of their special fried chicken, the Chicken Joy.


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The fast food chain continues to live up to their motto of sharing joy to their consumers, both through the little acts of happiness they give to bring people together and the classic flavours they’ve been living up to since the very beginning.

The Start of the Bee’s Journey

During the year 1978, Tony Tan Caktiong, the man who owns this nationwide-known and globally spreading franchise, had decided to turn to a different chapter in his life the moment he entered the world of business despite being a chemical engineer. He had worked at an ice cream parlour at first, where he wanted to provide the customers with something more to look forward to than just sweet treats.

He offered the people who came and went different snacks and sandwiches to fill them up. Surprisingly, this was selling much more than the ice cream was. With that, there was a spark in him that pushed him to build a fast-food spot made to satisfy the Filipino palette.


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Jollibee had been born, and continuously attracted people with the menu they offered. It had eventually become such a popular choice that it competed with one of the largest American fast-food chains, McDonald’s.

Now, Jollibee is found in over a thousand locations around the world with the plan of expanding their empire in the U.S. to reach triple digits within the next five years.

The Secret of This Jolly Bee; Why It’s So Unique

Jollibee’s main feature is the way their food menu focuses on the palette of their audience. It was originally made to cater the Filipino taste, providing banana-ketchup spaghetti with hotdogs and fried garlic rice to have with breakfast meals. The little details they put into the meals make it so meaningful and delightful to the Filipino people because of how it represents the simple tastes of the natives.


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With this goal in mind, Jollibee spread into different countries changing up their menu in little ways to cater to the palette of those who are in the location. While there’s no big change in the flavours they provide, they aim to make sure it fits the tastes of those in the area. For example, Jollibee UAE offers its customers the option to have their meals with Biryani rice which is a well-known delicacy in the location.


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This is what makes people so attracted to them. Jollibee, while keeping the Filipino-centered tastes, showcases the variety in unique ways most fast-food chains have not been able to incorporate the same way. Simply put, Jollibee’s menu feels more like a wide selection of flavours to find what suits you best rather than a generalized taste to fit the palette of all.

Their menu alone is enough to keep people wanting more, but this isn’t the only thing that keeps them at the top. Another of Jollibee’s signature characteristics is their mascot; a bee coloured in yellow and red in a little tuxedo suit and chef’s hat. It may be hard to picture, and if you first saw this mascot without knowing what Jollibee was, you might find it odd.

However, this bee means much more to other people than you would think. To kids, especially. Jollibee has become a symbol of childhood. It was where Filipino people spent Sunday morning breakfasts and birthday parties. The bee is not only a reflection of a Filipino child’s memories, but it is also a symbol of the Filipino itself. Jollibee showcased the mascot as someone who was optimistic, hard-working and just full of joy in general -which is a little description of what the Filipino spirit is.

Jollibee in Bridging Memories to the Present Time

The fast-food chain centralizes its menu classics on the elements of Filipino childhood. Their signature Jolly Spaghetti and Chicken Joy bring back times of being in birthday celebrations with friends and families, whether with Jollibee or simply in Filipino homes.

They also have other classics like palabok, kare-kare and sizzling sisig -which each serve as a vivid memory to Filipino consumers as these are common food choices served in households and parties.

Jollibee comes with a feeling of nostalgia from the ambience of the fast-food spot alone, drawing more people in with the warmth that they have to offer to remind it’s consumers of their roots wherever they may be.

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The Bee Arrives in Toronto, Canada

Spring of the year 2018, Jollibee had opened up their doors to Toronto and immediately dealt with lines that seemed like they would never end. Even a week after, people had been lining up to grab a bite of their classic meals. In fact, people would spend a few hours in line even if only to have a peach mango pie -and that says a lot!

Although most people had to wait for hours, the majority votes it’s worth the wait. Some people had to wait days before heading to the restaurant to avoid the crowd, only to find it was no different from day one.

Jollibee had, after all, announced the opening of the Toronto branch years ago. Most people, both Filipino immigrants and locals alike, have definitely been waiting enough for this to come true.


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As of now, there are only a few branches open in all of Canada. The first one was in Winnipeg, Manitoba during December 2016. This city was chosen mainly for being the city with the highest Filipino density. The bee mascot had put on a tuque and scarf on top of its normal costume as a way to celebrate the occasion.

In the year 2018, two more locations have been introduced. One during April in Scarborough, and the other in Mississauga three months after. They opened up a few more during 2019 in locations like Edmonton, Calgary and another location in Toronto.


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This was one crazy experience! 3 hour line, $60 max. Purchase, lots of Filipinos 🇵🇭 it was worth the wait though 😁 * * What did I order? (I didn’t take a picture of every item because I’m waiting to dine in for my next visit) * I order a bunch of combos and spend roughly $140. That would feed roughly 10 people(for a hungry family….not enough, lol) * Jolly Crispy Chicken-Spicy and Original, Palabok Fiesta, Jolly Spaghetti, Burger Steak, Yum Burger, Jolly Spaghetti, Peach Mango Pie, Mashed Potatoes, French Fries, Gravy, Pineapple Juice. * *VERDICT* Least favourite: Mashed Potatoes * 1. Jolly Crispy Chicken – Flavours and crispiness were all there. The spicy chicken was actually spicy and enjoyable. 2. Palabok Fiesta – For a fast food version….it was okay. Not something to get crazy over, but it tasted good with extra lemon juice. 3. Jolly Spaghetti – Have you tried Filipino spaghetti before? Well, this had a good balance of sweetness and flavours. The small bits of hotdogs were good. 4. Burger Steak – The Burger patty was tasty. The mushroom sauce that it was in made it even crazier. 5. Yum Burger – This Burger was actually good and not dry. Great for a small on the go snack. 6. Mashed Potatoes – this tasted like those dehydrated potatoes that they serve in high school cafeterias. Not impressed 😣 7. French Fries – Tasted and felt like McDonald’s fries. So it’s good. 8. Peach Mango Pie – AMAZING!!! Crispy, not too sweet, and awesome 🍑 Mango filling. 9. Pineapple Juice – the best drink to wash down your meal. Tasted like Tang mixed with real pineapple juice. I like it! 10. Gravy – I’m a gravy lover and this one is great on everything Jolly. * * Overall: Jollibee just brought in the competition with their famous Jolly Crispy Chicken. Their Peach Mango Pie is to die for. The Burger Steak, Jolly Spaghetti, and Pineapple Juice are great as well. * For my next visit, I will take a closer look at their menu and take better pictures. I was kind of in a rush due to how busy the place was and how much I’ve ordered.

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There are currently a total of ten locations across the country namely in Calgary, Macleod Trail, South Edmonton, Ellice, Winnipeg, Mississauga, Scarborough, Thornhill, North York, and Regina. The Jollibee team has future plans of extending their reach as well.

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