Saipan is in for an exciting hamburger war when popular Filipino fast food restaurant, Jollibee, opens it second store on the island during the latter part of January 2000, in what appears to be a move that levels the playing field with American giant McDonald’s.
Construction of the second Jollibee restaurant on Saipan, located adjacent to the Mt. Carmel Cathedral in Chalan Kanoa, has been ongoing since July this year and is expected to be completed in time for the scheduled grand opening early next year.
Jollibee will open its second restaurant on Saipan a little over a year since the popular Filipino fast food restaurant entered the hamburger quick service industry in the Northern Marianas during the latter part of 1999.
The Chalan Kanoa branch is part of the agreement sealed between Jollibee Foods Corporation-Philippines and YCO Corporation, which holds the fast food’s franchise in the Northern Marianas. YCO Corporation also owns Liberty Plaza and a chain of hardware stores on Saipan.
In Guam, franchise agreement guarantees the operation of at least four Jollibee restaurants in a period of five years. Two branches are now in operation in the neighboring island where Filipinos comprise about 30 percent of the overall population.
The impending opening of the second Jollibee restaurant will match the two branches of McDonald’s on Saipan, located along Middle Road in Gualo Rai and along Beach Road in the commercial district of Garapan.
Company officials were quick to emphasize that the erection of a second Jollibee store on Saipan has no relation to the closure of internationally known American hamburger restaurant, Wendy’s, yesterday.
In fact, Jollibee expansion on Saipan is part of a business masterplan designed through collaboration between executives and marketing experts of the Jollibee main office in the Philippines and Saipan’s YCO Corporation.
Industry analysts said there is enough market for another Jollibee restaurant on the island, considering the size of the Filipino community here, as well as the restaurant’s unique menu which appeal to both Oriental and Continental customers.
They believe that the company’s decision to open another branch on Saipan is dictated by current market demand, especially in strategic locations where there is a huge concentration of potential customers.
Jollibee’s entry to the local fast-food industry, which has been home to such American giants as McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken, stirred excitement on Saipan where Filipinos remain the largest ethnic group.
The restaurant’s entry into the Saipan market saw the introduction of original Jollibee as the Champ burger which offers hints of garlic and soy flavor, the crispy Chickenjoy, Spaghetti, Hotdogs, Palabok, Aloha Burger which includes a slice of pineapple, and the Peach-mango pie.
The Saipan branch is the 30th of Jollibee’s restaurants on foreign shores. It has restaurants in Guam, Hong Kong, Middle East, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, southern China and Papua New Guinea.
Jollibee Foods Corporation intends to make offshore stores account for 20 percent of the company’s turnover in the long term. Jollibee was launched in 1978 as an ice cream parlor at the heart of suburban Quezon City’s Cubao district.
During its first year of operation, Jollibee registered a total sales of P2 million. It climbed to P24 million two years after. In 1981, Jollibee joined the list of Philippines’ top 1,000 corporations with turnover shooting up by 51 percent to PhP36 million.
Jollibee hit its first P1 billion mark in sales in 1989. In the Philippines, Jollibee controls 57 percent of the hamburger market compared with major rival McDonald’s 36 percent.
Jollibee plans to expand its US operations adding five more stores to the one existing outlet in Daly City, California, while 50 more stores in the Philippines are expected to open, bringing its local network to over 350 restaurants including those owned by franchisees.
Jollibee is 100 percent Filipino-owned corporation which develops, operates and franchises the Jollibee hamburger fast-food concept and the Greenwich pizza-pasta fast-food concept.