A month since Philippine fastfood giant opened its first store in Canada, enthusiastic customers still line up to have a taste of their much loved childhood meals. But this time, waiting is a lot shorter. On the average, actual time from lining up, ordering, waiting for the order and grabbing a table for dine in, is down to between 20 to 40 minutes on a weekday evening rush hour. You can grab a seat and dine inside in as quick as ten minutes during daytime non-rush hours.
Winnipeg opened its first Jollibee store in Ellice Ave on December 15th, 2016. Another branch at Northgate will open first quarter of 2017 which expectedly should split the customers and make the waiting time shorter. For a time, social media was flooded with posts and selfies from customers who couldn’t hide their excitement during their first visits.
It’s the “At home ka rito” (You are at home) feeling, smell and taste, according to many. Winnipeg was chosen as location because of its large Filipino community in Canada per capita. And while Jollibee becomes attractive to curious non-Filipino friends, many believe that Jollibee is not a threat to other fast food like Mc Donalds (except for the issue of parking at a nearby location) because each has its own following and set of menu.
On its first weeks, the store implemented a ticketing or number system where customers get a number and come back at a designated time later during the day . This cut the waiting time and ensured a smooth and organized service. The company also set a limit of $50 dollar per transaction per customer.
While the ticket system worked well for some, there were those customers, especially coming from the far south or far east of the city who thought coming back was waste of time. There were those who just decided to wait for the hype to subside.
For the first two and a half weeks, tickets ran out before noon time. Luckily, my friends Daisy and Rhiz were so kind to get me a ticket.
And how did Jollibee taste to my kids who are both picky eaters and big fans of Mc Donalds chicken nuggets? Son was happy with rice. Daughter loved the spaghetti and got some bite of the chicken.
Daisy, Joji and me feasted over a bucket of chicken, spaghetti and palabok with some kind of holiday feeling. The last time I went to Jollibee was last year when I visited my cousin in Las Vegas. Some Pinoys haven’t tasted Jollibee for a decade. For me, the food all taste like the ones served at home. Refreshing pineapple juice and peach mango pie completed our cravings.
Some combo meals appear to be pricey but still affordable and not a reason to drive a craving fan. I notice that breakfast meals are not available.
By the start of the new year, Jollibee removed the ticket system and the sky is the limit for the orders.
Call it exaggeration but the coming of Jollibee is another great reason and attraction for Pinoys to fall in love with this city of extreme windchills. Do not get surprised that some Pinoys from other parts of the world without a Jollibee are jealous.
And just recently, I had the chance to drop by Jollibee again–more than a month after it opened. It was my friend Anne’s birthday!
There’s still this sense of excitement by the sight and taste of Jollibee. Although I admit, not as much at the first time.
And just like lovers on honeymoon stage, I might just enjoy this feeling so long as it last.