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Jollibee (Philippines) Continues International Expansion

24 Dec 2019 - Jollibee, a Filipino fast-food chain, is set to open in the Valley this week, making it the latest of a number of Asian-born restaurant franchises to open in Arizona.

Jollibee, best-known for its fried chicken and onion-celery gravy dish called Chickenjoy, will open Dec. 28 at 2800 E. Germann Road in Chandler. It will take over the former Slims Chicken building.

This will be Jollibee’s first Arizona location and its 40th U.S. restaurant. The company started in the Philippines in 1978 and has grown to more than 1,200 global locations.

“We cannot wait to become a member of the Chandler business community and further expand the area’s food offerings for locals,” said Maribeth Dela Cruz, president of Jollibee Foods Corp. North America, Philippine Brands Group, in a statement.

With an aggressive franchising strategy, Jollibee said it plans to grow to 150 U.S. stores and to 100 Canadian stores by 2023.

“North America is a key growth market for us at Jollibee to achieve our goal of becoming one of the top 5 restaurant companies in the world,” JFC's CEO Ernesto Tanmantiong said in a statement in February 2019 when the first Jollibee location in New York City opened.

A number of international fast food chains are currently expanding quickly in the U.S., many making stops in Arizona.

In 2018, Korean fried chicken restaurant Bonchon opened its first Arizona location near the corner of Elliot and Kyrene roads in Tempe. Both Bonchon and Jollibee were mentioned in a 2018 Thrillist article regarding “International restaurant chains that could take over America.”

While both restaurants offer fried chicken and other fair familiar to Arizonans, there is just enough difference that makes it unique for the Valley’s food scene. For example, Jollibee serves spaghetti but with a sweet-style sauce and sliced hot dogs. Bonchon has chicken and fries, but also has Takoyaki, a fried octopus dumpling dish.

The list of Asian restaurant chains opening around Phoenix is growing. Earlier this year the Taiwanese Fusion Tea Lounge opened in Tempe, and in November Filipino french fry concept Potato Corner opened in the Chandler Fashion Center mall.

Besides quick-serve restaurants, a number of Asian retail and restaurant concepts are eyeing the Valley. In 2020, two highly anticipated Asian supermarket chains, 99 Ranch Market and H Mart, are set to open in Chandler and Mesa, respectively.

These restaurants and grocery stores will serve the Valley’s growing Asian population, but will also offer something new and different to customers of different heritages and cultural backgrounds

Phoenix Business Journal