Large Crowd Welcomes Jollibee’s Opening
By Sheere Ng - Tuesday, Mar 12, 2013
You would think that the celebrities from the Philippines are here, judging by the snaking queue that started since 7.40am, majority of them Pinoys and taking pictures for one another against the backdrop. But no, what got them jumping for joy was a bee mascot, and the fast food joint – Jollibee – it represented.
The Filipino fast food joint opens this morning at Lucky Plaza much to the anticipation of Filipinos living here. Ms Marites Obien, the first customer in the queue, said: “I waited five years for them to come to Singapore. The fried chicken is very Filipino. The flavour is different from the other fast food joints.”
“Jollibee is part of every Filipino’s childhood. ‘Be good and we’ll go to Jollibee. Study hard and we’ll eat Chickenjoy.’ That’s what every Filipino mum will tell her kids,” said Mr Ian Kristoffer, another early bird at the store.
Large Crowd Welcomes Jollibee’s OpeningThe first three customers at Jollibee Singapore
The overwhelming response came as a surprise even to the Jollibee’s management. “We planned to open on a Tuesday because we knew Sunday is peak. But frankly, I didn’t expect to see this many people. Apparently they miss Jollibee too much,” says Mr Dennis M. Flores, Vice President & Business Head of Jollibee Asia. He adds that in the past, the company would receive emails every week from Filipinos living in Singapore asking why they did not open an outlet here when they have it in Hong Kong.
Almost everyone ordered the Chickenjoy set. Unlike at American fast food joints where fried chicken is usually accompanied with fries, the preferred sides here were either spaghetti or rice. Another highlight was the sauce, which Ms Obien recommended to eat with the chicken or drizzle over the rice.
If you think Filipinos are the only ones hard up for a piece of Jollibee, think again. Mr Daniel Tan, a Singaporean who worked in the Philippines for several years, came early morning for Jollibee’s spaghetti, which he said he had missed badly.
But another Singaporean, Mr Yeo Jun Jie, who was accompanying his friend and was trying the chicken for the first time, said it was “about the same as the others”.
Mr Flores said the company hopes to learn the food preference of Singaporeans and to satisfy those needs. “We don’t want to limit ourselves to Pinoy customers. We plan to open more outlets. We’ll see what market opportunities exists, and what are the other possible sites,” he said