On Friday, September 20, 2019, the sun had not yet risen and hundreds of lively Jollibee fans swarmed in Calgary's North East in anticipation of the fast-food restaurant's grand opening. The brand new restaurant is located at 999 36 St N.E. Jollibee Calgary opened it's doors on Friday morning at 7 a.m. to welcome fans from near and far with bumping pop music, a confetti cannon, a giant dancing mascot, and tons of prizes to be won.
Jollibee is a Filipino fast-food chain that has blown up in Canada over the past few months. Earlier in August, the chain announced plans to land in Calgary and fans went wild. Over 3,000 people showed up on Jollibee's Edmonton opening day, and judging by today's mayhem, Calgary might just surpass those numbers.
Tim Nixon was first in line and told Narcity that he had been waiting since 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 18 — that's practically 72 hours before opening. He said that he was the only one in line for a few hours, but others began to join him around 2 a.m. the following morning. Soon enough, the line was absolute chaos the morning of the opening.
Jollibee fans held creative posters and banners with the hashtag "#ItsOurTurn" to show their enthusiasm. Some wore t-shirts painted with the same words, others were dressed in full bumblebee and chicken costumes.
As for Nixon, he said that he had tried Jollibee for the first time last year in Las Vagas. He walked by the Calgary location on Wednesday, September 18 and noticed he would be the first in line. His patience was rewarded as he won One Year of Joy, which means a year's supply of Jolly Crispy Chicken.
If you're curious what Nixon ordered, the first-ever order at Calgary's first Jollibee, he opted for a 12-piece Spicy Jolly Crispy Chicken Bucket. Of course he chose spicy, he spent two cold nights in a lawn chair outside the restaurant.
Fans at the opening were extremely excited. A number of individuals in line said to Narcity that Jollibee is sentimental for them as they grew up eating it in the Philippines. Others were just jazzed about the chicken, and some just hopped in line to see what the buzz was about.
When asked what Jollibee menu item they were the most excited for, most people we spoke with said it was the Crispy Jolly Chicken. Other fan-favourites were the Jolly Spaghetti and the Mango Peach Pie. Around 6:30 a.m., Jollibee staff began coming into line to take the first-comers' orders.
As that 7 a.m. mark grew near, anticipation built and people began to chant "Jollibee! Jollibee!" Soon, the side of the tent was pulled back, a countdown started, and the Jollibee mascot burst out of the restaurant as a confetti cannon went off.
The crowd went wild, and minutes later the first guests were ushered into Calgary's first-ever Jollibee. The restaurant was filled with crowd-favourite menu items and customers enjoying their long-awaited meals.
Luis Velasco, Head of Marketing for Jollibee Foods Corp. and Maribeth Dela Cruz, President of Jollibee Foods Corp. North America addressed the media. Dela Cruz told us that she is "optimistic about the future of Jollibee Canada, specifically in Alberta," she explained that Jollibee is looking forward to continuing their expansion in the province. Reps confirmed that there will be a second location opening in Calgary with a drive-thru but no date was confirmed.
If you're not sure what Jollibee is all about, let this massive crowd convince you that you should probably check it out. With unique menu items like buttered corn and pineapple drinks, you really need to experience it for yourself. Stay tuned for a closer look at the inside of Calgary's first Jollibee.