- Jollibee is planning to open 500 stores in the next five to seven years in the U.S. and Canada, the company confirmed in an email. Ernesto Tanmantiong, Jollibee Foods Corp. president and CEO, originally shared these plans in June during a virtual event.
- The Filipino fast food chain currently has 69 stores in North America.
- This latest expansion strategy is an update from its plans shared in December, when the company said it would open 28 stores in the U.S. and Canada in 2021 with plans to have a total of 300 in the markets by 2024.
Much of Jollibee's growth has occurred in California in recent years, where one-third of Filipino Americans live, but the company has successfully expanded into other states. Since bringing the brand to Daly City, California, in 1998, the chain has entered Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Washington and Virginia, according to a press release. It also opened its first Maryland store this year.
The growing population of Filipino Americans in the U.S. has been critical in helping Jollibee get the word out about its brand. Jollibee is the market leader in the Philippines, where it has more than 1,400 locations and strong brand recognition among Filipinos. Tanmantiong said during the virtual event in June that the Filipino diaspora has led to a growing community that serve as brand ambassadors in the U.S., according to the Manila Bulletin.
This seems to have paid off. In 2020, the company grew sales by nearly 11% to $140 million, according to Technomic data reported by Restaurant Business. In 2019, its sales grew 15.2%.
Encouraging customers to use call-ahead pickup, takeout and drive-thru also helped Jollibee's growth during the pandemic. Last April, it launched nationwide delivery with DoorDash. The company rolled out a new online ordering app in January, as well. It also opened its first ghost kitchen in Chicago last year, which will be among the company's new stores in North America, Maribeth Dela Cruz, President of Jollibee Group North America, Philippine Brands, said in a Q&A with Eatery Pulse.
"We have remained nimble and optimistic which has led Jollibee to defy expectations amidst an extremely difficult year and experience double-digit sales growth across North America," Dela Cruz said in a press release.
The company has also been growing its U.S. footprint through acquisitions. In 2019, it bought Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf for $350 million, and it took a majority stake in Smashburger for $100 million in 2018.