Bundled in scarves and tuques, hundreds of people waited on a frigid Winnipeg morning to dine on fried chicken and spaghetti for breakfast last December 15.
That was the opening day of Jollibee, the most popular food chain and hailed as the McDonald’s of the Philippines.
Last Friday (January 27), it was the Jollibee staff who received a treat.
No less than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a stop at the popular food chain as part of a cross-country tour.
The Embassy of Canada in the Philippines has posted in its Facebook page a photo documenting Trudeau’s visit.
The photo showed Trudeau surrounded by delighted Jollibee staff members, who were treated to the classic Chickenjoy and peach mango pie.
Many Filipinos now living in Canada say the food, and the chain’s smiling bee mascot, remind them of home.
Jollibee searched for a while to find the right location for its first in Canada, said Jose Minana, Jollibee Foods Corporation’s president for North America and foreign franchise brands.
A second location in Winnipeg is expected to open next year, along with restaurants in Ontario, in Mississauga and Scarborough. An Edmonton location is slated for 2018.
JFC is ranked as the largest Asian restaurant company in market capitalization, with a total of 3,236 stores globally. It is eyeing North American expansion as the key to achieving its target to be among the top five fast-food chains globally by 2020. It’s now ninth-largest.
“Every Filipino wants to be reminded of the taste of home, especially during Christmas, and I think there is no other fast food brand out there that can deliver that but Jollibee,” said Maribeth dela Cruz, vice president and general manager for Jollibee North America. The Winnipeg location is the 35th in North America.