MANILA -- Diners wearing Jollibee costumes lined up for fried chicken and sweet-style spaghetti as the Philippines' largest fast food operator opened its new outlet in Manhattan, New York on Saturday.
Jollibee Manhattan opened at 8 a.m. Eastern (8 p.m. in Manila), further expanding its North American footprint that also includes upscale chain Smashburger and plans for a Mexican food venture.
"I am home, the love, the spirit. It's like the Philippines is already here in Manhattan. I feel at home," said one of the patrons, Jenny Arellano, on Jollibee US's Facebook page.
The Jollibee Manhattan menu includes Filipino staples like Jolly Spaghetti, Chickenjoy and Peach Mango Pie, as well as items not available locally like chicken sandwich and chicken dippers.
Last week, Filipinos lined up for Jollibee's first store in London, some of whom came from other parts of Europe. The company opened its first store, located in Milan, Italy in the continent last May.
Jollibee marked its 1,000th store milestone in the Philippines in July 2017. It also has stores in Vietnam, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei.
Last May, Jollibee said it would invest 45 million Singapore dollars (P1.74 billion) in a private equity fund that is set to acquire the master franchise of Tim Ho Wan in the Asia Pacific.
The Filipino company is also eyeing British sandwich chain Pret A Manger, Reuters reported in late 2017.