Jollibee fans camp out overnight for opening of UK’s first restaurant

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Jollibee
Expatriate Filipinos awaiting the opening of Jollibee’s first store in London’s Earl’s Court share the frame with JFC CEO Ernesto Tanmantiong (next to the mascot’s raised arm).

Thousands of expatriate Filipinos braved the autumn chill as they waited overnight for the opening of Britain’s first Jollibee in London.

The opening of the popular eatery in Earl’s Court today (Sunday, October 21) is part of the chain’s bid to become one of the top five global restaurant brands by 2020.

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 The first customer through the doors this morning was ‘balloon artist’ Michael Sison, who had camped out for 17 hours. He said the experience was “history and I want to be part of it. The time went by quickly. We met new friends.” 

Speaking to reporters at the launch, Ernesto Tanmantiong, CEO of Jollibee Foods, said it was such customer loyalty that was helping the brand reach its ambition for global dominance.

“Today, we are at number 11 or 12, depending on stock price. To achieve that dream, we will require an aggressive expansion coming from strong organic growth and strategic acquisitions.” 

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He added that the company would be opening 50 stores across the continent in the next five years, half of which would be scattered across major UK cities and the other half in Spain and Italy.

Dennis Flores, head of international business in Europe, Middle East, Asia and Australia, said: “We believe we can be successful in the UK because of two factors: we know our flagship product is Chicken Joy and the UK is the largest fried chicken consumer in Europe.”

With a target schedule of “a little bit longer than two years,” the company seeks to eventually generate half of its revenues outside the Philippines, he added.

Apart from the newly opened store in London, Jollibee will also have a soft opening in New York next Saturday, Malaysia before the end of the year, Guam next year and Australia and Indonesia by 2020.

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