The opening of Jollibee's flagship restaurant in London's Leicester Square this morning saw queues from 3am – seven hours before the restaurant was due to open.
By 9.30am, the group said there were around 300 people in line to try its signature crispy fried 'Chickenjoy', 'Jolly' spaghetti and chicken burgers, and even the Philippine ambassador to the UK Antonio M Lagdameo and his wife Linda Floirendo Lagdameo attended to open the restaurant.
The first customers through the door, a group of four 20-year-olds, said: "We arrived at 3am this morning to be the first in line. We've loved Jollibee since we were young. So excited that there is one now so central."
The group opened its first UK restaurant in London's Earl's Court in 2018 and expanded to Liverpool and Leicester in 2020.
There are now Jollibees in four cities across the UK, with six further launches planned before the end of 2021. The brand said it has "huge ambitions to rival the major fast-food names in the UK".
Adam Parkinson, business head of Europe for Jollibee, said: "This is a very proud moment for Jollibee in the UK as we open our London flagship. I was thrilled to see how many hundreds of fans turned up this morning to support us on opening day…
"Opening the restaurant now, during the first week Londoners can dine inside, was a fantastic moment of celebration for our community of Jollibee lovers and our amazing team. This central London location represents our commitment to establishing Jollibee as a major chicken restaurant chain in the UK."
Jollibee was founded in 1978 by Tony Tan Caktiong in the Philippines and at the end of last year had 1,478 locations around the world. Parent company Jollibee Group has more than 5,800 stores globally and operates in 33 countries as it also owns and operates brands including Chowking, Greenwich, Red Ribbon and Mang Inasal in the Philippines; and Smashburger in the US.