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JFC targets European expansion

In photo: The Jollibee Level Up Joy Store along South Luzon Expressway

Fast-food chain operator Jollibee Foods Corp. (JFC) on Tuesday said it is investing some 50 million pounds (or P3.36 billion) to expand its flagship brand in Europe.

JFC said its stores are starting to get out of its traditional market of mainly Filipinos living abroad. The company has set its sights on more domestic customers by offering local favorites.

The company said it will expand its store network in Europe by 50 stores in the next 5 years as 70 percent of its customers in the United Kingdom are locals. JFC last year opened its stores in Rome, Liverpool and Leicester City to much fanfare despite the pandemic.

This year, Jollibee will open its Europe flagship location in Leicester Square, London. This will be followed by 7 other store openings, including its first stores in Scotland in Edinburgh, its first in Wales in Cardiff, and its first in Spain in Madrid.

Jollibee’s new stores in Europe have been designed to adapt to changes brought about by the pandemic by including contactless kiosks for speed and safety, and pick-up settings to make take-outs even more convenient.

“The Jollibee Group is dedicated to growing the Jollibee brand in the UK and across Europe. Investing £50 million demonstrates our commitment to become a major player in the European quick-service industry,” said Dennis Flores, Jollibee Group regional business head for Europe, Middle East, Asia and Australia.

“The pandemic may have been a setback, but it will not deter us from pursuing our vision for Jollibee in the UK and the rest of Europe.”

Jollibee has introduced multiple new menu items that cater to the local market palate, including Asian Slaw, Tropical Burger, Mango Coconut Sundae and Asian Chicken Tender Rice Bowl.

The Jollibee fast-food brand hopes to draw in more local customers through its new and refreshed store design that showcases its Filipino heritage while adapting to the European market.

“We know from our research that the overall dining experience is just as important as the quality of our food. So, while we pride ourselves on our delicious menu, we knew we could do more to enhance the overall restaurant experience for our UK customers,” William Tan Untiong, Jollibee’s chief real estate officer, said.

“Jollibee is a place of joy across the world, and so the ‘upbeat’ part of our restaurant branding was crucial to get right. It is lighthearted, fun, and built on the idea of community spirit. Across the business, the customer always comes first, a value we are proud of here in the Philippines and one which guides us in every new market.”

By end-April, Jollibee UK will launch an app that will allow customers to order in advance.

“When restrictions are lifted, we know our customers will want to return to their social lives, and restaurants play a key role in that. We are committed to creating a great place for our customers to spend time with loved ones—something everyone is craving for right now. Simultaneously, we are investing in technologies such as a mobile app for click and collect along with in-store contact-less kiosk options to bring additional convenience to our customers,” the company said.

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