Who would have guessed that a giant cartoon bee character could become the national symbol for delicious, affordable and fast food in the Philippines? Well, that’s what began in 1975 when Tony Tan Caktiong opened an ice cream shop in Cubao, Quezon City. The results of his efforts has been nothing short of phenomenal. Though Jollibee began as an ice cream parlor, it was the move to diversify to more types of food like hamburgers that really put them on the map. In every major area in the Philippines, one can count on multiple Jollibee’s being around, ready to serve you a Yumburger, ChickenJoy, or your own personal favorite.
According the the official Jollibee website, in less than 10 years, in 1984, Jollibee reached the 500 million piso sales milestone. Another 5 years later in 1989, Jollibee accomplished another amazing feat - reaching the 1 billion piso sales mark - and being the first fast food chain in the Phlippines to do so. Other notable accomplishments include becoming part of the top 100 corporations in the Philippines in 1987, and becoming the first food service company to be listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange. The prestigious award of “World Entreprenuer of the Year” was given to founder Tony Tan Caktiong in 2004 for the inspiring work he’s done. Additionally, the Far Eastern Economic Review has judged Jollibee as “The Most Admired Company” in the Philippines over the last 6 years.
What’s the secret to the success of Jollibee? Is it the creative marketing and unique branding they’ve pioneered in the the realm of fast food? Is it the focus on traditional Filipino culture and the fact that they try to still seem a “local favorite” despite the fact that they’re the nation’s most prevalent restaurant? I’d say it’s a combination of all these things and more. Jollibee has indeed revolutionized the fast food industry in the Philippines. Today they satisfy the apetites of Filipinos everywhere with 600 stores in the Philippines and over 30 international stores.
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