Filipino fast food giant Jollibee looking to bring joy of chicken to Indonesia

A Jollibee mall outlet. <i>Photo by Therese Reyes</i>
A Jollibee mall outlet. Photo by Therese Reyes

In 2017, we reported that Filipino fast food chain Jollibee — the country’s most famous fast food export — announced plans that it would expand to Indonesia by 2019. Obviously, that didn’t happen as we would’ve been there on opening day.

But now you can cautiously revive your hopes for being able to get Jollibee’s Chickenjoy fried chicken and sweet spaghetti without having to travel abroad as the company has once again teased a possible Indonesia expansion in the near future.

In an interview with Reuters, Jollibee Foods Corp CFO Ysmael Baysa said the fast food chain’s recent US$100 million investment in American coffee shop chain The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf may have paved the way for Jollibee’s entrance to Indonesia.

“One thing that might emerge and very interesting is Indonesia. Coffee Bean gives us an immediate presence in Indonesia and also gives us a platform on which we can further expand our business there,” Baysa said.

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf has 1,189 outlets across 27 countries, including 101 stores in Indonesia.

As highlighted in an excellent analysis of the fast food giant by our sister site Coconuts Manila, Jollibee is a Filipino cuisine icon and arguably the country’s best known brand. The company, through its 12 brands and franchises, operates more than 3,000 stores in the Philippines and more than 1,400 outlets across Southeast Asia, the Middle East, US, China, and Britain.

Jollibee actually expanded into Indonesia once before with two stores in Jakarta back in the 1990s, but were forced to leave the market due to the 1998 Asian Financial Crisis.

In Indonesia, Jollibee would face a cluck-load of competition from other fast food purveyors, especially those selling fried chicken, with the most obvious example being the iconic KFC. High demand for deep fried chicken in recent years has also resulted in the emergence of local chains such as Sabana Fried Chicken and d’Besto to the oversaturated market.

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