Jollibee officially opens in Calgary to cheers from crowd of hundreds
It’s the latest fast food craze to come to Canada and it’s finally arrived in Calgary.
Jollibee, the wildly popular Filipino restaurant, officially opened at 7 a.m. Friday at Pacific Place Mall in the 900 block of 36th Street Northeast.
More than 200 people were in line before the opening and the store instituted rules in an attempt to keep the line moving smoothly and ensure customers wouldn't go home empty-handed.
Management restricted purchases to a maximum of $60 and prohibited individual customers from ordering more than two buckets of Jolly Crispy Chicken, 10 Yum Burgers or 10 Peach Mango Pies.
Tim Nixon, who was first in line, arrived at 7 p.m. Wednesday after being convinced by his girlfriend.
"I didn't think this was going to be such a big deal when I started doing this the other day – it turned out to be a huge deal” said Nixon.
“I got people texting me from Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and right across the country who can’t believe I waited this long in line – it’s fantastic.”
Nixon says he appreciates the tent that was erected outside the store in the hours before the opening as he faced cold, wet weather during his first day of camping out.
Barong-clad Funko Pop! figures were handed out to those in line carrying the most unique banners and posters with the hashtag #ItsOurTurn, and the first 50 people in line who made a $25 purchase received a year’s supply of Jolly Crispy Chicken, which equates to a six-piece bucket each month.
The lineup brought cult fans together to try the chicken, but it was also a chance to relive a taste of home.
Gemima Salucop is originally from the Philippines and waited 12 hours in line.
“Our culture is very uniting and it’s to celebrate the Jollibee opening, it’s very enthusiastic and everyone has posters to show their support,” she said.
“My favourite is the crispy chicken and the peach and mango pie - you have to try it!”
Considered a fast-food staple in the Philippines, where there are more than 1,300 locations, the first Canadian location opened in Winnipeg in 2016.
"As a major cosmopolitan area and Alberta's largest city, Calgary is a key stepping stone in our expansion across Canada," said Maribeth Delacruz, president of JFC Brands North America.
"To our Calgary family who have been eagerly awaiting the opening of this store, we look forward to welcoming you this Friday. It's your turn."
Head of Jollibee’s North American marketing team, Luis Velasco added that there are already plans to add a second drive-thru location on Macleod Trail next year.
“Sometimes sharing a meal can be transactional, it can functional, but we’re all about people rediscovering the joy of eating and getting families and friends together for a meal.”
Jollibee plans to open more than 100 locations in Canada within the next five years. There are currently 1,300 Jollibee stores in 16 countries.