Jollibee to open central London flagship in $70.6 million expansion

Popular fried chicken chain from the Philippines is looking to set up shops across the UK and Europe

Jollibee is to open a new London store. Jollibee
Jollibee is to open a new London store. Jollibee

International fried chicken chain Jollibee is opening a new flagship shop in central London as part of a $70.6 million expansion across Europe.

Queues are expected to snake around the block when the chain’s Leicester Square restaurant opens next Thursday.

Jollibee is still a relatively new addition to Britain’s high streets – with only four before the latest branch opens – although another six will pop up soon after, including one in Cardiff.

The Philippines-based company, founded in 1978, has 1,478 sites across Asia, Europe and the US. Most of them (1,201 to be exact) are in the Philippines, with the rest spread across the globe as Jollibee continues its ambitious expansion plans.

The chain has attracted a tenacious fan base who love the fried chicken and rice meals.

When it opened its west London restaurant in Earl’s Court people queued for 18 hours, and in Milan, queueing began eight hours before the cookers were switched on in 2018.

As part of the European expansion, the company is also planning to open in Madrid.

The Leicester Square branch is part of a $42m investment in enhancing its presence in Britain as it tries to attract customers in the 18 to 30 age group.

Jollibee said the design and branding in the Leicester Square venue is a fine-tuning of its customer-first approach.

"The standard, formulaic design has been completely rethought ... it's a step up from the competition and provides customers with an unparalleled experience,” said Patrick Abrams, managing director of Jollibee's design company Applied Studio.

"Customer satisfaction and providing premium hospitality was the priority through all facets of our design. We think we have created something that looks great but also functions exceptionally well so that the dining experience is as good as the aesthetics."

For the post-pandemic world, the restaurants feature hand-wash stations, self-order kiosks and pick-up counters.

Jollibee said its research indicates that younger adults are seeking "new experiences and … shareable and authentic moments, all while looking for convenience and value for money".

Jollibee Group has, across its brands, more than 5,800 shops globally, including Chowking, Greenwich, Red Ribbon and Mang Inasal in the Philippines, and Smashburger, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in the US.

Updated: May 13, 2021 06:06 PM

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