Philippines-based fast-food giant Jollibee Foods Corp. is opening its first flagship store in Madrid, the capital and most populous city in Spain.
The restaurant will open later this year as part of its 50-store expansion plan across Europe.
“Opening Jollibee stores in Spain is a milestone that forms part of our vision of becoming among the top five restaurant companies in the world and part of our commitment to grow in Europe,” Jollibee Group president and CEO Ernesto Tanmantiong said.
It will feature its bestsellers on the menu: Chickenjoy, jolly spaghetti and the yum chicken burger.
The firm plans to tap local customers in Spain, just as it did in the United Kingdom where 75 percent of customers are British.
“Our future customers in Spain are looking to return to their normal social lives. And restaurants play a key role in that,” said Adam Parkinson, business head of Jollibee Europe.
“Ultimately, we are committed to create a great place for our customers to spend time with friends and family,” he added.
Due to safety protocols, the branch will provide outdoor seating areas, outdoor pick-up areas for take-out orders, hand-washing stations and digital kiosks.
Several social media users said the Philippines’ homegrown fast-food brand is now targeting its former colonizer.
Spain used to rule the Southeast Asian country for more than 300 years, reportedly beginning in the 1520s. It introduced Christianity, new cuisines and other cultural traits and manners.
“Colonize our former colonial masters, Jollibee! (Pero huwag kalimutan na i-improve ang labor practices dito sa atin),” a Twitter user said.
“Jollibee taking over Europe,” a Facebook user quipped.
Another online user shared a video in response to Jollibee’s announcement to open a branch in Spain.
It featured Kapuso actress Marian Rivera speaking in Spanish in the teleserye “Temptation of Wife.”
“Me ‘pag mag-o-order sa Jollibee Spain,” a Twitter user commented.
— not so ogie🧣 (@besthylyn) August 18, 2021
This year also marks the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Spaniards in the country before.
Jollibee Group, one of Asia’s fastest-growing restaurant companies, operates in 33 countries and has over 5,800 stores globally.