Jollibee: A Taste to Remember
By Carina Cordero Brossy
Matthews, NC, United States
What do burgers, sweet pork, fried chicken, spaghetti, and tuna pies have in common? You can find all of these items and more on the menu of the largest fast-food chain in the Philippines.
How It Bee-gan
Jollibee, with more than 1,500 restaurants primarily in the South Asian island-nation, has established itself as an iconic and highly profitable food chain. Originally opened as an ice cream parlor in 1975, its founder Tony Tan Cacktiong took on the Philippine’s first McDonald’s in 1981 by creating his own fast-food chain. With a large dose of national pride and a menu for all local and personal tastes, his creation now outsells even global giant McDonald’s. The company’s main spokesperson is the Jolli-bee, a colorful red bee who is now popular enough to have his own Twitter account and a television show called Jollitown.
Since its early years, this brand has grown by acquiring other restaurants that specialize in such cuisines as Chinese and traditional American. From 2014 to 2019, Jollibee Foods’ revenue almost doubled, reaching 180 million Philippine pesos (3.5 million in current US dollars). Philippine call centers and other outsourcing businesses have given consumers more money in their pockets, which they seem to want to spend on Big Yums and Chickenjoy.
Like any powerful fast-food chain, this brand reaches well beyond its local origins. Hungry fans can find its signature dishes in 24 countries around the world. The United States has 58 stores with more to come. So, the next time you’re craving a burger with a side of Palabok Fiesta Noodles (noodles in garlic sauce with pork, shrimp, parsley flakes and egg), you’ll soon need to look no farther than your neighborhood Jollibee.
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Learning Activity for Grades 4-7: Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division
1. Maria and her family are using Philippine pesos (₱) to pay for their meal at their neighborhood Jollibee in Manila, Philippines. Maria’s family orders these items:
- one Amazing Aloha Yumburger with drink (₱185)
- two Chickenjoys with Palabok (₱165 for one)
- one Jolly Spaghetti with fries (₱90)
- two regular Coke floats (₱27 for one)
What is the total cost of the meal? Using a currency converter website like this one, find the current Philippine peso to US dollars exchange rate to convert the total cost from Philippines pesos to US dollars. How do the costs of these fast-food meals compare to fast-food prices in the US?
2. Roberto wants to open a new Jollibee franchise in Manila. He projects his annual gross sales will be ₱150,000. However, Roberto will have to subtract these costs:
- food costs of ₱43,576
- labor costs of ₱34,566
- rent costs of ₱22,893
- insurance/general administrative costs of ₱8,450
What will be Roberto’s net operating income in both Philippine pesos and US dollars?
Social Justice Question
Researchers have linked a fast food diet to obesity and other negative health effects. In addition, fast food corporations increase food insecurity by undermining local control of food production. Lower-income neighborhoods tend to have higher concentrations of fast food restaurants. What do you think could be possible solutions to this problem?
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