MANILA - Jollibee Foods Corp said Tuesday it would invest £50 million (P3.36 billion) to grow its European network to 50 stores in the next 5 years to capture more of the market.
The company said a European flagship store in Leicester Square in London is set to open this year, followed by 7 other store openings including outlets in Edinburgh, Scotland; Cardiff, Wales; and Madrid, Spain.
“The Jollibee Group is dedicated to growing the Jollibee brand in the UK and across Europe. Investing £50 million demonstrates our commitment to become a major player in the European quick-service industry,” said Dennis Flores, Jollibee Group Regional Business Head for Europe, Middle East, Asia, and Australia.
“The pandemic may have been a setback, but it will not deter us from pursuing our vision for Jollibee in the UK and the rest of Europe," Flores added.
In the UK, 70 percent of customers in its newest stores are locals, Jollibee said.
The UK restaurants are equipped with contactless kiosks with pick-up settings for more convenient take-outs, JFC said. The "new normal" stores were designed to adapt to changes brought by the pandemic, it added.
By end-April, Jollibee UK will also launch an app that will allow customers to order in advance.
To capture the local palate, Jollibee introduced new menu items such as Asian Slaw, Tropical Burger, Mango Coconut Sundae and Asian Chicken Tender Rice Bowl, the company said.
“We know from our research that the overall dining experience is just as important as the quality of our food. So, while we pride ourselves on our delicious menu, we knew we could do more to enhance the overall restaurant experience for our UK customers,” said William Tan Untiong, Jollibee Group Chief Real Estate Officer.
Adam Parkinson, the Jollibee Group's Market Head for Europe, meanwhile said Jollibee brought to Europe the community spirit and hospitality which are central to the brand.
The company said over 5 million pieces of Chickenjoy have been sold across Europe since the brand was first introduced in the region.
JFC, which is one of Asia's fastest-growing restaurant companies, is aiming to become one of the world's top 5 restaurant operators.
Its founder and "chief taste officer" Tony Tan Caktiong regularly travels around the world to find potential acquisitions.
The group has purchased US-based Smashburger as well the global coffee chain The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.
It operates in 33 countries, with over 5,800 stores globally.