Fast food connoisseurs in Canada are abuzz this week over the news that yet another foreign restaurant chain will soon be setting up shop in our home and native land.
Start your spam sandwich savings funds now, fans of Filipino fast food, because by the end of this year, Jollibee will be open for business in Toronto.
Are you ready? #jollibee #jollibeetoronto #wethenorth #philippines pic.twitter.com/MfFEGbTv0K— @teamblackshirt
Oft-hailed as "the McDonald's of the Phillippines," Jollibee is well-known around the world for its pineapple-topped hamburgers, peach-mango pie and "Chickenjoy" fried chicken.
CFO of the Jollibee Foods Corp. Ysmael Baysa confirmed during an interview at the Phillippine Investment Forum on Tuesday that his company would soon be opening its first Canadian location.
“We hope to be in Canada within the year,” he told the Manila Standard , noting that Canada is first on the list of countries and regions Jollibee will be expanding into over next two to three years. Japan, the Middle East and Europe will soon follow.
With 2,833 stores worldwide as of 2014, Jollibee Foods Corp. is the biggest fast food restaurant operator in The Phillipines.
The company, which was founded in 1978, has opened outposts of its flagship fast food joint in about a dozen countries over the past 30 years, the most recent being Singapore, Qatar and the U.S. (which has 29 Jollibee stores, for the record.)
Baysa said Tuesday that Canada was one of several countries being eyed by the company "due to the growing number of Filipinos in these areas."
Indeed, just over 660,000 people of Filipino descent were living in Canada as of 2011 according to StatsCan — some of whom took to Twitter after learning of Jollibee's pending arrival to share their excitement along with others in Toronto who simply love the restaurant.
Every Filipino in the GTA is excited about #Jollibee coming to Toronto. ���� #butitstruetho— @puneigh
Everyone's like "OMG! X-Files!"... and I'm like "OMFG! Jollibee! Toronto! Jollibee! Yesssssssss! Gimme gimme!"— @fyeahlostgirl
@Jollibee coming to Toronto?! How do you say "woohoo" in Tagalog? #yay— @ultramyron
Jollibee's impending foray into the Canadian market is not being celebrated by everybody, however.
Some online are saying that the LAST thing our country needs is another fast food chain to increase obesity rates.
Nearly 25 per cent of Canadians are now considered obese, according to StatsCan's most-recent report on the condition — 17.5 per cent more than in 2003, and over three times as many as the number of obese Canadians recorded in 1985.
Others are simply miffed that Jollibee chose Toronto for its first Canadian location, as opposed to somewhere in their own region.
Why does toronto get a jollibee before vancouver.. ��— @rahimsupreme
When are you opening a store in Calgary? @Jollibee https://t.co/MRTnB4BhSf— @bullishOO7
That saddening moment when theres Jollibee in only one province in Canada AND I'M NOT LIVING IN IT ����— @FictionalSadist
But don't lose hope yet if you don't live near Toronto — Manila Standard reports that Jollibee plans to open up 330 stores this year alone, including 220 in the Philippines and 110 overseas.