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Filipino Fried Chicken Restaurant Jollibee Will Open Flagship London Restaurant in May

Later than planned, the popular restaurant chain confirms it will open six U.K. restaurants in 2021, including 175-seater bang in the middle of the capital

A close up of a customer holding a Jollibee chicken and pineapple sandwich
Jollibee’s chicken and pineapple sandwich
Jollibee [Official Photo]

The popular Filipino restaurant chain Jollibee has confirmed it will open its flagship London restaurant in Leicester Square on 20 May, three days after indoor dining resumes in England. It is later than planned owing to the extended period of closure endured by hospitality venues since December. The new restaurant will be able to accommodate 175 guests.

Last November, documents revealed that Jollibee would open its second restaurant in the capital at 22 Leicester Square on the former site of Bella Italia — one part in a major expansion drive across the U.K. and Europe. Today, 29 April, Big Hospitality reports that the group has also confirmed the opening of six new restaurants in the U.K. this year — in Newcastle, Edinburgh, Reading, Cardiff, Nottingham, and Leeds.

The restaurant chain which first opened in the Philippines in 1978 operates almost 1,500 restaurants globally. “Chickenjoy” fried chicken and spaghetti with hot dogs named after its mascot Hetty are among the brand’s main draws.

Ernesto Tanmantiong, CEO of Jollibee Group said in a statement shared with Eater London that the opening was part of the group’s “continued commitment to expanding in Europe.”

“Globally, Jollibee Group plans to open 450 restaurants across its brands this year with the long-term goal of being one of the world’s top five restaurant operators,” Tanmantiong said. “We know customers are excited to try new restaurants and visitors will return to key tourist destinations like central London, helping to fuel the capital’s restaurant industry. It’s great to see local communities in the UK trying our food for the first time and becoming loyal customers.”

Its first London restaurant opened in the west London neighbourhood Earl’s Court in 2018. Previous reports have stated the company’s ambitions to open 50 U.K. restaurants before 2026.

All of the U.K. sites will feature a new look, which Big Hospitality reports is designed to attract a younger demographic, specifically 18 to 30 year-olds.