F And B World : July 2010
6 | JULY 2010 www.hip.ph THAT COULD THE LITTLE BURGER How Jollibee’s Yumburger conquered the world with its unique Pinoy twist. By Marilen Fontanilla From its humble beginnings as an ice cream parlor in 1975 to its present size as the number one foodser vice company in the country, there is no doubt that Jollibee has become a household word, not just for Filipinos at home but across the globe. one secret to Jollibee’s longevity has been its focus on everything Filipino. Albert Cuadrante, Vice President for Marketing of Jollibee, explains, “Jollibee’s roots have always been Filipino. our success has come from ‘Filipinizing’ Western food concepts to make it truly Filipino. For example, I don’t think a typical American will say that our Yumburger fits their idea of what a hamburger should taste like, while an Italian will probably disagree that our Jollibee Spaghetti is the usual spaghetti. But for Filipinos, the Yumburger is a hamburger and the Jolly Spaghetti is what we know as spaghetti.” So what makes these dishes so irresistible to the Pinoy palate? Cuadrante replies, “We made our Chickenjoy extra crispy and juicy— that’s why it is such a hit with Pinoys. our Jollibee Spaghetti is also on the sweet side just like the way we Pinoys prefer it—complete with hotdog, ham , and ground beef so we call it the ‘meatiest’ and the ‘spaghettiest.’ We also continue to offer other Pinoy favorites in our menu like the Palabok Fiesta as well as our Breakfast Joys that feature Pinoy staples like beef tapa, bangus, and longganisa.” At the core of Jollibee’s menu is its truly Filipino-style hamburger, the Yumburger, which is distinctive for its aroma and taste, hence the now famous langhap-sarap tagline. More than 30 years ago, the Yumburger had its first incarnation in the Tan family’s modest ice cream parlor. Cuadrante recalls, “When more and more customers started to look for other food apart from ice cream as merienda, the owners thought of introducing hot meals and sandwiches into the menu. Hamburger then was very popular among Filipinos, so the family felt that it was a logical and welcome addition to their menu line-up.” It was also fortuitous that the owners knew not only a great deal about how to run a business, but also happened to have a clear understanding of the taste preferences of Filipinos . “They used that knowledge to create the recipe for a Pinoy hamburger, which became their flagship product. This is the Yumburger that we know today,” Cuadrante adds. Recently, the Yumburger received a special citation as Most Pinoy Burger at the recently-held Sooo Pinoy (Evolving Filipino Flavors): National Search for the Ultimate Pinoy Dish sponsored by Unilever Foodsolutions in partnership with the Department o f To u ris m and Inquirer Lifestyle. The award is a testament to Jollibee’s successful “Filipinization” of a Western favorite as well as the Yumburger’s continued popularity after over 30 years on the menu. What is the secret to this favorite order? “The Yumburger fits the Pinoy palate because of its familiar taste—which all starts with the burger patty that is tasty (not bland like the typical Western-style burger) and something which Pinoys love. The Yumburger also has a special burger dressing that perfectly complements the patty, making it appeal to the unique taste and preference of Pinoys. Even from its aroma (sa amoy pa lang), you can already detect the mouth- watering goodness of our Yumburgers. That’s why we describe it as langhap-sarap,” extols Cuadrante. Since then, Jollibee has expanded its burger line-up to include Yum with Cheese, Yum with TLC (tomato, lettuce, cheese), and double-patty versions, along with the heavyweight Champ and Amazing Aloha, in select markets. There are still more things to look forward to with the constantly expanding Jollibee menu which has grown to include the Jolly Hotdog sandwich, and desserts such as Rocky Road Brownie Sundae and Black Forest Sundae. Each addition has been meticulously thought out to appeal to the Filipino palate, like one of its latest products, Jollibee Chicken Barbecue. “We invested a lot of time understanding the barbecue preferences of the Filipino so we can come up with the flavor that captures the panlasa ng Pinoy,” shares Cuadrante. There can be no doubt that Jollibee is here to continuously tempt us with its latest Pinoy-pleasing offerings. Probably the only question would be what will unfold next on its plate.