Jollibee North America President Maribeth Dela Cruz joined “A Moment With” to share why the beloved brand has been able to successfully carve out its own niche in what many consider the world’s most competitive quick-service-restaurant (QSR) marketplace.
Founded in the Philippines more than 45 years ago and headlined by its world-famous “Chickenjoy” fried chicken, Jollibee is hitting its stride in North America (N.A.), where the global restaurant sensation is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary. While Jollibee first entered the U.S. market in 1998 to cater to its loyal fanbase longing for a “taste of home”, the beloved brand now has a cult-like following among a highly diverse audience mix, which can be seen lining up around the block when Jollibee enters a new market.
Dela Cruz, a 35-year Jollibee veteran who took the helm of the company’s N.A. operations in 2005, brings an infectious energy to her leadership role. Highly driven yet humble, she is passionate about ensuring the global restaurant phenomenon maintains its authenticity as it continues with its rapid expansion plans across the U.S. and Canada.
“While we may not be the biggest QSR brand in North America just yet, we believe we have the right ingredients – great-tasting food at a great value, paired with our welcoming service – to make a lasting connection with our customers right from the start,” said Dela Cruz. “As someone who grew up on Jollibee, it brings me great pride to see the happiness on people’s faces when they are trying our food for the first time – spreading ‘the joy of eating’ is truly what our brand is all about.”
As a testament to its growing mainstream appeal in cities from coast to coast, international food website Eater.com named Jollibee “the best chain fried chicken in America” and leading industry publication, Ad Age, recognized Jollibee as one of “America’s Hottest Brands 2022.”
With the full support of its parent company, Jollibee Foods Corporation, Dela Cruz and her team will be propelling Jollibee N.A.’s ambitious growth trajectory, opening its 100th location in the coming months with plans to expand to 250 stores in the region by 2027.
“Our company’s vision is to become one of the top-five restaurant companies in the world, and North America represents a key pillar for achieving this momentous goal,” said Dela Cruz. “Helping to put Jollibee on the map in this important region has been an amazing journey, and I am more excited than ever about what the future holds for us – I am truly blessed.”
On a mission to become one of the world’s top-five restaurant chains, Jollibee has more than 1,600 restaurants across 17 countries and is quickly expanding across North America. Follow Jollibee at @jollibeeus on Facebook, @jollibeeus on Instagram, and @jollibeeusa on TikTok to get updates on Jollibee’s upcoming store openings and other exciting announcements and events, including new product launches and special promotions.