Jollibee, Asia’s largest restaurant company by market capitalization is gearing up its Saturday opening in Jacksonville, FL with traditional Filipino preparations.
A big bucket of signature Chickenjoy is one of the highlights in the flagship restaurant opening. The location at 11884 Atlantic Blvd., next to Soul Food Bistro, is a former KFC and A&W that was converted into a Jollibee outlet. Fully renovated, the restaurant seats 80 inside and 30 on the patio, vice president and general manager of JFC North America Maribeth Dela Cruz said.
“It’s about time. It’s a long wait,” said Dr. Mel Carbonell, a physician and the president of the Filipino-American Community Council of Northeast Florida.
“Jollibee represents the Philippines.”
Jose Minana, Jollibee Foods Group President for North America, and dela Cruz, both said the company chose Jacksonville for its Southeast expansion because of the Filipino population in the city and the state.
Minana said out of the 125,000 ethnic Filipino population in Florida, 26,000 Filipino-Americans are based in metropolitan Jacksonville. He hinted at opening additional Jollibee outlets in the city.
In addition to Chickenjoy, Jollibee menu includes chicken dippers, Jolly Spaghetti, burgers, corned beef and Spam sandwiches; peach mango pie and halo-halo are part of its dessert lineup.
Although 86 crew members have been already hired, Jollibee seeks 54 more because it needs a staff of 130, especially during the early weeks when business is expected to be heavy.
Store hours are between 7am and 10pm.
Jollibee executives, citing other shop openings, believe the Jacksonville store will attract Filipino-Americans and other patrons from throughout the Southeast such as South Carolina, Alabama, and Georgia.