Jollibee opened its first store in Winnipeg, Canada, home to over 70,000 Filipinos last December 15. The inaugural location was chosen because Winnipeg is home away from home for a lot of our countrymen, with Tagalog being the second-most common mother tongue language spoken.
Jollibee executives and special guests gather around a giant bucket of fried chicken for the Jolly Crispy Chicken toast. Seen here are JFC Group President for North America and Foreign Franchise Brands Jose Miñana, VP and General Manager of Jollibee North America Maribeth dela Cruz, Honorary Consul Ronald Opina, Member of the Legislative Assembly for St. Norbert Jon Reyes, President of Sysco Winnipeg Blair Schmidt, Trevor Skinner, and other special guests.
In typical Jollibee fashion, the store was welcomed by long cues with people lining up as early as 10:30 PM the night before. The crowd braved the -25 Celsius weather to get a chance to taste a bit of home with Jollibee favorites Jolly Crispy Chicken, Peach Mango Pie, and Jolly Spaghetti. The store is the beginning of Jollibee’s aggressive North American expansion plans that is lined up until 2018. The store also created over 100 jobs for the people of Manitoba.
Throngs of fans braved the cold to camp out before first Canadian store opening
“We are very encouraged by the turnout and excitement at the grand opening of Canada’s first Jollibee,” said Jose Miñana, Jollibee Foods Corporation’s Group President for North America and Foreign Franchise Brands. “It brings us great joy that we are able to bring a taste of home to Filipinos and a new culinary experience to Canadians.”
Braving the sub-zero weather, Jose Miñana leads the ribbon cutting ceremony along with VP and General Manager of Jollibee North America Maribeth dela Cruz and Operations Director Mackey Dimaculangan.
Social media exploded with posts describing just how happy the Filipino community was over the arrival of a childhood icon. An eight year old resident even said, “I’ve been in Canada for eight years and it feels like a touch of home has arrived with Jollibee opening in our neighborhood.”
Winnipeg City Mayor Brian Bowman (middle), and City Councilor Scott Gillingham of St. James ward (right) share hearty laughter with Jose Miñana (left) and the Jollibee mascot as they receive exclusive Jollibee dolls to commemorate the occasion.
This marks the first Jollibee store opening in Canada and the 35th in North America. In 2017, Jollibee plans to open three more stores in Canada, including one in Winnipeg.