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Q&A | Maribeth Dela Cruz of Jollibee Group Jollibee has big expansion plans for next year QSR chicken chain Jollibee plans to continue major expansion in 2021, coming off tremendous growth this year despite the pandemic. The Philippines-based chain will have added 17 stores by the end of the year. In the United States, Jollibee will open new stores in California and Texas. In Canada, a new Toronto store will be unveiled on the historic Yonge Street.

this level of service in the U.S. and it has been very well-received by our customers here. RCS: What geographic areas outside of California and Texas are targeted for development in 2021?

For more details on the expansion, we turned to Maribeth Dela Cruz, president of Jollibee Group North America, Philippine Brands.

As we progress in our mission to expand to 300 stores by 2024, our areas of focus within the U.S. over the next year include states like Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Hawaii; and we’ll be opening our first store in Maryland.

Restaurant C-Suite: First, tell us about the characteristics of your Chickenjoy and Jollibee’s menu that have become popular in the US.

RCS: Tell us about your use of a ghost kitchen in Chicago, and the use of these to expand. Are they included in the 28 stores planned for next year?

Maribeth Dela Cruz: Jollibee’s menu is headlined by our worldfamous Chickenjoy, fried chicken that has been delicately handbreaded to be crispy on the outside with a secret marinade that makes it juicy on the inside. Other popular menu items include our Jolly Spaghetti which many first-time Jollibee customers are surprised to see on a fast-food menu. This dish is beloved by adults and kids alike and features spaghetti topped with our signature sweet-style sauce loaded with chunky slices of savory ham and hotdog and a generous sprinkle of cheese. Finally, no Jollibee meal would be complete without our Peach Mango Pie which features a delicious filling made with real Philippine mangoes surrounded by a light crispy crust. Our customers keep coming back not only for our unique menu, which is best described as a joyous mashup of Western comfort food with a delicious Asian twist, but also for our warm and friendly service. The Jollibee brand has always been very welcoming and hospitable. We have continued RESTAURANT C-SUITE | Restaurant news that’s fresh, informed, inspired (by you) 16

Cloud kitchens are an innovative store model that allows Jollibee to meet the rising demand for delivery among consumers. We are planning to first optimize our Chicago Cloud Kitchen before expanding the concept to other cities across the U.S.; but there will definitely be cloud kitchens among our 300 stores by 2024 in North America. RCS: What are the plans for East Coast expansion? In 2021 Jollibee will be further expanding its network across New Jersey and New York, with our first store in Times Square and as I mentioned, opening our first store in Maryland. RCS: Please tell us about two or three things you have learned about adapting Jollibee’s practices in light of the pandemic. I’m so proud of each member of the Jollibee family for swiftly adapting to this ever-changing environment that we’ve been navigating

Profile for Eatery Pulse Media

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As we approach the end of the year, there are some positive notes to offset some of the beating we’ve all taken during the COVID-19 pandemic...

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As we approach the end of the year, there are some positive notes to offset some of the beating we’ve all taken during the COVID-19 pandemic...