Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck inspired Jollibee's iconic bee mascot: CEO says

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 26 2019 08:06 PM

Store front of Jollibee's branch at the busy Araneta Commercial Business District in Quezon City, March 3, 2018. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - "Loveable" Disney characters Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck were the inspiration behind Jollibee Foods Corporation's (JFC) bee mascot, its president and CEO has said.

It was founder Tony Tan Caktiong's love for Disney that paved the way for the fast food chain's mascot, his brother and JFC's CEO and president Ernesto Tanmantiong told Christine Tan in an exclusive interview with CNBC's Managing Asia.

"It was Tony. Yeah because at that time he loved going to Disneyland and he saw Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, and he said he was going to create a Jollibee as loveable as the Disney characters," Tanmantiong said.

"The reason we thought of Jollibee was because at that time, he said that if people are hardworking but they're not happy, it's not worth it. So he combined the words 'jolly' and 'bee'. That's how the Jollibee mascot came about," he added.

Ernesto Tanmantiong, CEO of Jollibee Foods Corporation, welcomes 7-week-old Gabrielle Francis at the London store opening, Oct. 20, 2018. Rose Eclarinal, ABS-CBN News/File

"We also ensure that the entire organization lives up to that name, so we make sure that the core personal values of our people and our leaders are aligned with our corporate values, our shared vision and our mission," Tanmantiong said.

Jollibee said its sales grew 23.5 percent to P212 billion while profits rose 17.1 percent to P8.3 billion last year as the company opened 502 stores worldwide.

Its international success is partly due to the unique and "universally accepted" flagship product Chickenjoy, Tanmantiong said.

"We're fortunate that our Chickenjoy is universally accepted, not only by the Filipinos overseas, but also non-Filipinos...We put a lot of effort into making sure that the recipe is really superior tasting and universally accepted," he said of Jollibee's beloved fried chicken.

In 2018, Jollibee opened its first store in Milan and the United Kingdom, and a new outlet in Manhattan.