On March 12 of 2013, the Philippines‘ biggest and most known fastfood brand has finally opened up its store here in the island nation of Singapore. Filipinos on the island have longed for the arrival of our dear old friend, Jollibee. And it has been very successful since they have opened.
Jollibee has beaten McDonalds by a mile in the Philippines along with the other big US fastfood chains like KFC. You’d find Jollibee in almost every city in the Philippine archipelago. And, Jollibee already have stores in different countries around the world where there is a good number of Filipino community. They’ve got stores in California, Hawaii, New York, New Jersey, Nevada, and Washington in the USA. They have stores in the middle eastern countries of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar. And they also have stores in Brunei, Hong Kong, and Vietnam.
As the company expands to other neighboring countries in South East Asia, they have finally opened their store here in Singapore. They partnered with a local hotelier to make their visibility here.
Well, Jollibee has become famous back home because of its ‘crispylicious’, ‘juicylicous’ ChickenJoy. And their ‘langhap sarap‘ (delicious smelling) products like their Jolly Spaghetti (a Filipino-styled sweet spaghetti), Palabok (a Filipino noodle meal), and their own versions of American favorite food like burgers, hotdogs, sundaes, and pies. And the Jollibee mascot itself has become more famous to kids back home due to its cute and jolly looking bee compared to the scary clown mascot of McDonalds.
Jollibee has grown part of childhood of many Filipinos and I’d say part of our culture already. And this is why many Filipinos living and working in Singapore has become very excited. Very excited that since it has opened about 8 weeks ago, there are long queues waiting for those who want to try it out. In the first few weeks, one would take 2-3 hours in a queue before getting his chance to order.
With knowledge that there would be a long queue, we still decided that we should go ahead and try Jollibee out.
We head out for Jollibee, which is located at the 6th floor of Lucky Plaza Mall along Orchard Road, around 11:30 AM, just about lunch time. And we did encounter a queue. The store has managed two queues one inside and the other outside the store. People will have to queue outside first and where the queue is the longest. Here it took me about 45 minutes before I got my turn to go and queue up inside the store.
Once we get to queue inside, that’s the only time the crew would allow your companions to find a seat inside the store. This ensures that people will not hog on seats while waiting to order. In effect, there were a lot of empty tables to choose from. Queuing inside took me about 15 minutes more to get my chance to make my order.
And so, we ordered 2 two-piece ChickenJoy meals, 1 one-piece ChickenJoy meal, a ChickenJoy and Spaghetti meal, a Jolly Fries, a Jolly Hotdog and a chocolate sundae. Plus we ordered a bucket of 6 pieces of ChickenJoy for take out. Another reason why the ChickenJoy is famous is due to its gravy. So we ordered extra gravy.
Well, I would say that all the food we ordered tasted the same as tastes of Jollibee products that we misses. It is unlike other major fastfood chains where they made their tastes different from every territory they are present. Like KFC here in Singapore do not taste like the KFC in the Philippines or even in Malaysia. McDonalds burgers here in Singapore are dry. And KFC and McDonalds in the US are far more tastier than anywhere else I’ve tasted them. At least Jollibee made Filipinos remember the tastes they tasted back home since we were kids.
Even with the success of Jollibee here in Singapore, before it opened, it has been faced by threats of boycotts from some local netizens. This is due to the misinformation that Jollibee only hires Filipinos to be their crew in Singapore. This is in contrast with the policy of the Ministry of Manpower where only a small percentage of foreign worker may be hired in a company. And visiting Jollibee, you’d really see that they’ve got a lot of locals working for them. Plus with a big pool of Filipinos on the island, Jollibee would definitely have a lot of business to make here.
I’m looking forward for their next branch to open, hopefully soon.