Jollibee, the home of crispy fried chicken known as Chickenjoy, opened its Cardiff store last year. The restaurant chain, which has close to 1500 locations around the world aims to open at least 50 stores across the UK by 2025.
The restaurant is located on the corner of Queen Street and Charles Street, in Cardiff’s prime pedestrianised area between St David’s destination shopping and the city railway station. The impressive two-story corner building is painted in a deep purple, with one side of the building covered in a wall mural in line with the brand’s colourful new store design. The restaurant is open 10 am – 10 pm daily, with a seating capacity of 124.
If you haven’t heard of Jollibee, it was founded in the Philippines in 1978, the chain has a cult following and has seen hundreds of eager fans lining up at their store openings from London, New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Rome, Milan, Dubai, Vietnam, Hong Kong to Singapore.
Jollibee’s restaurant in Cardiff aims to offer “truly tasty, high-quality food and a one-of-a-kind experience to everyone who comes through the door, all at an affordable price point”.
When we visited, we were surprised how many East-Asian people were there and then the penny dropped. Having established itself in the Phillipines over forty years ago, of course it was going to be super popular with students and visitors from that part of the world. It was quite reassuring seeing how loved the Jollibee brand is.
What we liked
We really like the Jolly theme. Staff were super helpful even though they were clearly busy keeping up with orders. Food is tasty and affordably priced compared to other chains. We’re suckers for fried chicken, being KFC Boneless Bucket fans, and Jollibee certainly held its own in the taste test. The ice cream fries was a step too far on this visit. Perhaps next time. It’s certainly fun food though. We also really liked the history graphics on the wall. Quite informative and you get a real sense of the ethos behind the company.
Jollibee is world-renowned for the delicious taste of its distinctive menu and exceptional standard of service. The menu features a unique take on fast-food classics such as their signature “Chickenjoy®” which is crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside; “Jolly Spaghetti”, made with a sweet-style sauce, loaded with cheese and hot dog slices; and the Tropical Chicken Burger that is topped with bacon and a slice of pineapple. Hand-breaded in-store by Jollibee’s team, the brand’s take on fried chicken has earned them global fame, with a range of delightful dipping sauces including Asian Ginger Chilli Sauce and Sriracha Mayonnaise. Jollibee has also just launched a range of new menu items which will all be available at the Cardiff restaurant: the Spicy Chicken Burger, Sriracha Chicken Loaded Fries, Chicken Wrap, and the summer exclusive Peach and Mango Drink.
The opening of the restaurant has certainly created new job opportunities for up to 50 people in Cardiff, supporting the local economy and bringing people back to the city centre. Since launching, trading figures in Cardiff have steadily grown with more people coming into work and growing confidence in the hospitality sector.
A bit of Jollibee history
Jollibee is a much-loved restaurant chain founded by Tony Tan Caktiong in the Philippines. Tony, the son of Chinese immigrants, built up his business from humble ice cream store beginnings, then later expanded its offering to a selection of hot meals. The brand continues to be owned by the Jollibee Group and is now the market leader in the country’s restaurant industry, with 1,492 locations around the world as of May 31, 2021. The brand has many accolades to its name, including the “best international restaurant chain” by US-based food and lifestyle website, Thrillist. Famously, the late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain referred to Jollibee as the “wackiest, jolliest place on Earth” in his hit CNN food and travel documentary show, Parts Unknown. The Jollibee Group now has over 5,800 stores globally and operates in 33 countries. It owns 80% of The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf® business which is present in 27 countries, and operates Michelin-starred Tim Ho Wan in Mainland PRC. It also owns and operates Chowking, Greenwich, Red Ribbon and Mang Inasal in the Philippines; Yonghe King and Hong Zhuang Yuan in the PRC; Smashburger in the US, and Highlands Coffee mostly in Vietnam. The Jollibee Group also owns the franchise of Burger King, PHO24, and Panda Express in the Philippines; and Dunkin’ Donuts in certain territories in the PRC. The company is listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange.
You can follow Jollibee on Instagram too!
Jolly? Is there any other way to be?
What Cardiff eatery makes you smile? We’d love to know.