Dubai resident Rosalie Edra promised her 8-year-old son that she would treat him to Chicken Joy at the newly opened Jollibee fast-food outlet at The Dubai Mall if he scored high in his school tests.
Even if that meant waiting in line for several hours, which is what excited customers devoted to the Filipino fast-food chain have been facing ever since the first in a series of UAE outlets opened there last month.
“I told him we’d eat at Jollibee at the weekend and I couldn’t backtrack because he was so excited,” says the 38-year-old mother from the Philippines.
On Saturday, she and her son arrived at Jollibee, which is sandwiched between KFC and MerCurries in the food court, at 10am to find they weren’t the only ones who had planned to queue early. The Jollibee line stretched to the back of the seating area, where a token booth has been installed to create systematic ordering.
Clutching a token with the number 0364 on it, Edra and her son Russell still hadn’t been able to place their order two-and-a-half hours later.
“We didn’t come when it opened because we had heard about the rush,” she says.
“But being from the Philippines, where this is so famous, we will wait no matter how long it takes.”
Jollibee Foods Corp is the Philippines’ largest fast-food company, outselling McDonald’s and KFC in South East Asian countries. The most popular items on their menu are Chicken Joy, Steak Burger and Jollibee Spaghetti. This year, the Jollibee network hit 2,933 stores worldwide. The company plans to open 330 more outlets, including those in Canada and the UAE. More info