Philippine fast food company Jollibee took on fast food giant McDonald’s — and won, thanks to their strategy Jollibee was established by Filipino entrepreneur Tony Tan, who started off in 1975 with two ice-cream parlours.
Inspired by the global success of McDonald’s, Tan opened his own chain of seven hamburger restaurants called Jollibee in 1978. In 1979, he and his brothers travelled to the US to observe every detail about how McDonald’s operated.
They returned and remodelled their stores exactly like McDonald’s, except that Jollibee kept to its own menu, with foods catered to Philippine taste buds. In 1981, McDonald’s opened in the Philippines. However, Jollibee had already become firmly entrenched as the market leader.
Not only was McDonald’s unable to unseat it, the fast food giant did so badly that The Economist reported in 2002: “The Philippines is a huge embarrassment to McDonald’s.” Currently, in the Philippines, Jollibee controls about two-thirds of the market, where McDonald’s is a distant second.