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


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.

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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.     

McDonalds Canada with a Playplace in Moncton New Brunswick Canada

McDonalds Canada with a Playplace in Moncton New Brunswick Canada

McDonalds in Karlshamn Sweden

McDonalds in Karlshamn Sweden

McDonalds in Seminole Florida on Park Blvd

McDonalds in Seminole Florida on Park Blvd

McDonalds Canada at a Wal-Mart Canada in Toronto Ontario Canada

McDonalds Canada at a Wal-Mart Canada in Toronto Ontario Canada

Islamabad Pakistan

Islamabad Pakistan

© 2010 Lasantha Wijesekera


anton on January 22, 2014:

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 .

ramil.villa3 on October 19, 2013:

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 s not a street foods....

gerica on August 19, 2013:

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

Gladys Familaran on May 04, 2013:

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.

Pinoy guy on April 16, 2013:

Jollibee is better than mcdo because they have variety

kaka on March 19, 2013:


mama ibs!!! on February 11, 2013:

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

cherz on February 11, 2013:

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

cukias on December 01, 2012:

mcdo,, is adelicious food

kogieblack on November 22, 2012:

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

sarmientoj24 on October 22, 2012:

Jollibee is the best!

richel on October 01, 2012:

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

ml dee on September 21, 2012:


marvi on September 17, 2012:

I love Jolibbe

and I love being Filipino

krista romero on September 16, 2012:

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.

BusterMcDermott on July 02, 2012:

They're both got the same very delicious hamburger that fits in everyone's taste. I love them both.

dave on June 28, 2012:

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

ARGIE BAYONA on June 23, 2012:

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

keikei on May 02, 2012:

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

janel on February 28, 2012:


hazel on November 05, 2011:

mcdo is more original

katrina on November 05, 2011:


kej on February 06, 2011:

mcdonalds is the bEST!!!!!!

Lasantha Wijesekera (author) from Sri Lanka on January 08, 2011:

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

SEOLIX on January 08, 2011:

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

majorpanicuk on December 26, 2010:

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

@iwantjollibee on June 13, 2010:

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 or on twitter @iwantjollibee

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