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But one of the fastest growing fast food chains in the US is a company you might have never heard of.
Meet Jollibee, a global Filipino fast-food company, otherwise known as the “McDonald’s of the Philippines.”
And if you’ve never seen the brand in your neighborhood, that may change in the next few years.
Jollibee Foods Corp — Jollibee’s parent company that also owns brands like Smashburger — recently reported 2021 profits roughly on par with its pre-pandemic 2019 profits.
Source: Jollibee Ford Corporation
“Beyond 2022, our outlook for business growth is even brighter,” Ernesto Tanmantiong, Jollibee Food Corp’s CEO, said in a press release, noting that he expects to see “very strong expansion” in North America, China, Southeast Asia, and Europe.
By 2027, Jollibee wants to have 500 stores open in North America, starting with at least 20 new locations by the end of 2022, a spokesperson told Insider.
The announcement of new Jollibee openings has often foreshadowed massive local hype. In 2020, customers in Texas waited up to four hours just to grab a bite at a new location, Sarah Blaskovich reported for the Dallas Morning News.
Source: The Dallas Morning News
And it’s easy to see why fans would wait hours in line for Jollibee.
It also offers the classic sides, like gravy, mashed potatoes, and french fries.
But unlike the traditional US fast food joint, Jollibee also sells items like adobo rice, a sweet spaghetti, and palabok fiesta (a noodle dish with garlic, pork, shrimp, and eggs).
I’ve only had Jollibee once on a whim several years ago, and I don’t remember what I ordered at the drive-thru.
So I decided to visit the fast-food chain’s Manhattan location to see what all the hype is about.
Jollibee currently operates one location in Manhattan just a short walk from tourist hotspots like Times Square.
It also recently announced plans to open an outpost in Grand Central Terminal in 2023 as part of its large North American expansion plan.