A feather in the cap for Jollibee's S'pore outlet

THE Jollibee outlet at Lucky Plaza may be its only one in Singapore right now, but it is the brand's top performer worldwide.

The Philippine-based fast-food chain, famous for its fried chicken, has more than 800 outlets across the globe.

It opened its first Singapore outlet in March, and is planning to start another in either Tampines or at Causeway Point in Woodlands by the end of the year, said Jollibee's vice-president for international operations Dennis Flores yesterday.

"The reception has been overwhelming," he said, telling The Straits Times that the Lucky Plaza outlet attracted 35,000 customers in its first week. He did not disclose current numbers.

Jollibee formally marked the opening of its first milestone store in Singapore yesterday with a celebration led by chief executive and chairman Tony Tan Caktiong.

The guests included former Singapore president SR Nathan, who enjoyed a surprise birthday celebration as he turned 89 yesterday, Temasek Holdings' chief executive and executive director Ho Ching, and Philippine government officials.

Jollibee Group Foundation president Grace Tan Caktiong presented a cheque for $8,888 to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund at the event.

During the outlet's March opening, a group of people set up a Facebook page, which was taken down a few days after, claiming that the chain preferred to hire Filipinos, and called for a boycott.

Mr Flores said yesterday that Jollibee had hired a "large majority of Singaporeans and permanent residents".

mellinjm@sph.com.sg