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Jollibee Vs. McDonald's: Filipino Burger Kings Fight Against Global Giant

Updated on December 13, 2017

What’s the first name that comes to your mind when someone asks about fast-food restaurant? Most probably, it is McDonald’s, the world’s largest food service organization. McDonald’s holds more than 40% share of the US fast-food burger market, many times the share of its nearest competitor. However, if you ask the same question in the Philippines, the answer that you’ll get will be Jollibee.

Jollibee Foods Corporation is not a household name when it comes to the global market. But in the Philippines, it’s the king of the burger market. One industry analyst said “if McDonald’s is the Goliath of fast food, Jollibee is its Filipino David.”


The rivalry between Jollibee and McDonald’s looks like no contest. McDonald’s has more than 31,000 outlets in more than 100 countries out of which 3,000 outlets are in Asia. Jollibee has only 600 outlets and over 50 international outlets.

But despite these numbers, in the Philippines, small Jollibee has humbled the global giant. Jollibee has captured more than 65% share of the hamburger market in the Philippines. This is more than half of the fast-food market as a whole and about twice McDonald’s sales in the country. Its revenues are growing rapidly and profitably. They claim that they are the undisputed leader of the fast-food market in the Philippines.

Their secret is Smart Niching. Jollibee concentrates on serving the unique tastes of Filipino consumers whereas McDonald’s exports largely standardized fare to consumers around the world.

Jollibee's Hamburgers
Jollibee's Hamburgers

Both Jollibee and McDonald’s offer cleanliness, fast service and convenient locations.

Jollibee’s Champ burger competes with the Big Mac and its Peach Mango Pie replicates McDonald’s Apple version.

However, Jollibee’s menu and flavors are specially suited to Filipino tastes. The local chain cooks up sweet, spicy burgers and serves seasoned chicken and spaghetti with sweet sauce, the way Filipinos like it.

They serve these meals with rice or noodles and not with French fries.

Jollibee in Malaybalay City
Jollibee in Malaybalay City

In addition to the special understanding of the Filipino palate, Jollibee has also mastered the country’s culture and lifestyle.

Jollibee lures kids with in-store play activities and a cast of captivating characters.

Its massive Jolly Bee character with orange jacket and the blonde spaghetti-haired girl named Hetti are better known and loved in the Philippines than Ronald McDonald.

The well known Jolly Bee character epitomizes the Filipino spirit of lighthearted everyday happiness.

Jollibee with kids
Jollibee with kids

Although Jollibee is much smaller than McDonald’s in global terms, Jollibee concentrates most of its limited resources within the Philippines, where its restaurants outnumber McDonald’s.  But its primary advantage comes from simply doing a better job of giving Filipino consumers what they want.   

Jollibee has shown that through smart niching, small players can compete effectively against industry giants.     


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McDonalds Canada with a Playplace in Moncton New Brunswick Canada
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McDonalds in Karlshamn Sweden
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McDonalds in Seminole Florida on Park Blvd
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McDonalds Canada at a Wal-Mart Canada in Toronto Ontario Canada
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Islamabad Pakistan

© 2010 Lasantha Wijesekera

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    • profile image

      anton 

      4 years ago

      I am from australia I prefer jollibee every time it is good tasty food I like it and every time I visit the philippines I find time to eat out at their restarants .

    • profile image

      ramil.villa3 

      5 years ago

      jollibee s d best bcoz makes every child a huge smile and it s wer my nephew grace work,,,,not only that there foods are really dlcious.....it s not a street foods....

    • profile image

      gerica 

      5 years ago

      i like jollibee coz ang sarap ng food .....

    • Gladys Familaran profile image

      Gladys Familaran 

      5 years ago

      Jollibee burgers are better because it contain 100% real beef while Mcdo contain 15% real beef, 85% meat fillers cleansed with AMMONIA, which causes stomach and intestinal cancer.

    • profile image

      Pinoy guy 

      5 years ago

      Jollibee is better than mcdo because they have variety

    • profile image

      kaka 

      5 years ago

      mcdo

    • profile image

      mama ibs!!! 

      5 years ago

      i like jollibee !!!!its more fun in the jollibee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      cherz 

      5 years ago

      i love jollibee !!!!! kc mas masarap ang kanilang spaghettti!!!!jejejeje

    • profile image

      cukias 

      5 years ago

      mcdo,, is adelicious food

    • profile image

      kogieblack 

      5 years ago

      Why is it that practically nobody eats at Jollibee here in our place at Ortigas Acve. Ext. People go to McDonald's.

    • profile image

      sarmientoj24 

      5 years ago

      Jollibee is the best!

    • profile image

      richel 

      6 years ago

      I love Jollibee,nothing more nothing less..hehehehe:))

    • profile image

      ml dee 

      6 years ago

      yummmmmyyyyyy.......

    • profile image

      marvi 

      6 years ago

      I love Jolibbe

      and I love being Filipino

    • profile image

      krista romero 

      6 years ago

      Hi! great article! I was wondering when you wrote this? and where you got the market share for both brands? I need to do a paper on it as a school requirement and I'm really having a hard time with finding this out.

    • profile image

      BusterMcDermott 

      6 years ago

      They're both got the same very delicious hamburger that fits in everyone's taste. I love them both. http://www.ranker.com/crowdranked-list/top-fast-fo...

    • profile image

      dave 

      6 years ago

      jollibee competes on lowest possible quality; that translates to very low menu prices. That is their secret, it is street food under lights.

    • profile image

      ARGIE BAYONA 

      6 years ago

      Jollibee they are local at the Philippines that's why i love them

    • profile image

      keikei 

      6 years ago

      JOLLIBEE FTW !! bring jollibee to christchurch NZ !! we all want it here !!! ^^

    • profile image

      janel 

      6 years ago

      FOR ME JOLLIBEE IS THE BEST #SKL

    • profile image

      hazel 

      6 years ago

      mcdo is more original

    • profile image

      katrina 

      6 years ago

      MCDO!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      kej 

      7 years ago

      mcdonalds is the bEST!!!!!!

    • LasanthaW profile imageAUTHOR

      Lasantha Wijesekera 

      7 years ago from Sri Lanka

      Thanks SEOLIX for your comments. You must be a fan of Jollibee.

    • SEOLIX profile image

      SEOLIX 

      7 years ago

      Jollibee never fades!!! They bring BIG Smile to very kids..

    • profile image

      majorpanicuk 

      7 years ago

      Besides, clowns are creepy. Give me a giant walking smiling bee anytime.

    • profile image

      @iwantjollibee 

      8 years ago

      nice article! thanks for the mention! we are also beta launching a new online delivery site, try it out and let us know what you think! if you want to do a story on it we'd love to give you an interview! - contact us at on email at digital@jollibee.com.ph or on twitter @iwantjollibee

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