Sunday, March 1, 2009

Comment Card: Jollibee - Woodside, Queens

So, I ventured out to Woodside, Queens with a friend of mine, who is a fast-food pilgrim of sorts, to check out the new Jollibee. Being the McDonald's of the Philippines, Jollibee was a frequent merienda (snack-time) stop, whenever I visited my grand-mother and cousins in Manila. The largest fast-food chain in the Philippines, Jollibee is famous for its fried-chicken, called Chicken Joy, as well as other greasy delights, such as the Yumburger, the Aloha Burger, and, of course, the Jollibee Spaghetti, an appetizing curio and my personal merienda favorite, as it is sweet with mixed-in pieces of salty hot-dogs and ham.

Once my friend and I arrived in
Woodside, we waited in line for 2 hours, along with throngs of Filipino balikbayans, hankering for their fill of Chicken Joy. By the time our wait came to an end, we had watched a slo-mo promo video display of the entire menu, featuring juicy pieces of crispy chicken and mouth-watering burgers, at least 50 times, and witnessed every customer ahead of us order food for what seemed like extended families, consisting of at least 50 members. Shaking from hunger and impatience, we finally reached the cashier and ordered:

1 Spicy Chicken Joy with Spaghetti
1 Spicy Chicken Joy with
Palabok Pancit
1 Yum Burger
1 Mango Pie

and then scrambled to find a table to devour our picks .

Sadly, the Chicken Joy was joyless--not at all crispy or having the succulent appeal portrayed so tantalizingly on video. The
pancit had an unpleasant taste and odd texture to it. The Mango Pie was basically sugared orange glop with cubes of processed mango chunks, encased in oily, fried crust. The Yum Burger, not so yummy. The Jollibee Spaghetti was palatable, but I was somewhat swayed by a sentimental bias. For fast-food, this was hardly the guilty pleasure, nor the treat of nostalgia I was expecting. Had it not been the 2 hour wait, I would have chalked this up to a fun, diversion to Queens, but the wait was interminable and eclipsed any fond feelings I had for the joint. Note to management: Read up on the chapters covering efficiency and customer line-management from the McDonald's franchise manual. If McDowell's did it, so can Jollibee.


Food: Joyless
Service: Effing slow
Ambiance: Fluorescent-lit, fast food primary color chic
Price: Cheap, but no $1 menu items ($2-3.50 burgers; $6-7 value meals for one person)
Verdict: 4/10 by fast food standards

Neighborhood: Queens/
62-29 Roosevelt Ave
Woodside, NY 11377
Nearest Transit: 61st St (7) 65th St (G, R, V)


  1. What a waste of time. That's too bad. Why not go here if you're nostalgic for food from those good ole' days? P., V, and I relive our youth at least once a week!

  2. that sucks, i was thinking about making the trek, thanks for the heads up. love the new blog!

  3. I will definitely check out Chick-fil-A. X-tra Pickles...


  4. for those who are used to the Filipino taste .. this is great .. i guess you don't have the "Filipino taste" anymore .. and hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan ... i guess you guys are too "americanized" ... i pity you "Filipinos" ...

  5. I've had the Chicken Joy at Jollibee in Manila and liked it. I just didn't like my experience in Queens. To equate the food of a fast-food franchise, like Jollibee as a standard for good Filipino cuisine does a disservice to Filipino culture at large... Additionally, to imply a subjective dislike of greasy chicken as an evasion of ethnic identity is a silly argument, but thanks for reading! Salamat po!

  6. C'mon is that a fast food just by name?
    Seems like everyone here in queens joining the bandwagon!

  7. i'm just gonna wait for the lines to shorten to the point where i dont have to wait outside to get myself some chicken joy. anyway, nice and honest review.

    especially loved the "Coming to America" McDowell's reference! haha

  8. Nothing more than a nostalgia trip.

  9. With the huge lineup and no security, I'm surprised no thugs have thought about robbing these schmucks yet. hahah.

  10. Thanks for reading Wonder Marq!

    There was a bouncer type at the front door, when I went, attempting to control the traffic flow.

  11. I think the problem has something to do with the branch itself and not Jollibee as a whole. So I won't generalize that Jollibee is all bad.

  12. I am proudly a "laking Jollibee kid" and I still think that it is the best Filipino fast food chain :)

  13. Filipinos are so easily on the defensive when you critique them on something... I agree.. just because I said I didn't like eating greasy food doesnt mean I'm less of a Filipino... quality is quality regardless of where you came from

  14. We Filipinos are actually sensitive when it comes to anything Filipino but you're right... quality is quality...and it's just but right to help raise the standards.

    I'd like to think that Jollibee-Queens was in the dry-run phase. If not, the comments in this blog should serve as constructive criticism for it to last in the biz.

  15. I've never been to New York, but I can't help but agree with the comment about the slow food service. I've eaten at different Jollibee franchises, and for the most part, service is anything but efficient. You'll get the fastest service if you eat in a Jollibee owned and operated by the mother company (the business permits should say that it's the branch was registered under the name of "Jollibee Foods Corp."), but the franchised branches tend to lag behind in terms of making the customers wait shorter. And that was just for waiting in line, I haven't even grappled customer service itself :P

    Am surprised to find out that the value meals in the Queens branch can cost customers up to $7. The most a Filipino would need to shell out for a Value Meal in the Philippines is about P150 (US$3) at most. There are even "savers" meals or menu items that cost as low as P30 (roughly US$0.80).

  16. was there yesterday, and loved everything, especially their chickenjoy (crispy!!!) and spaghetti! we were early so there was no line, but as soon as noon hits, long lines started forming.
    don't be discouraged by the bad reviews from previous posters... definitely worth the trip.

  17. I think there is an inverse correlation between the quality of food in a fast food restaurant and the length of the queue. I have noticed the busiest fast food restaurants serve poorer quality food compared to outlets of the same chain handling more optimal workloads. If you think about it, the people preparing the food behind the counter are human after all.

  18. well as a person who actually works there (yeah im also filipino) i have to admit the comments here are kind of true (trust me its not the crew its actually the management team and the machines they ordered) machines there are programmed/automatic so basically cooking time for the food there cant go any faster and as for food comment lets just say i would have to agree that food here sucks since i see how the food looks like before they serve it and i know i should be saying good stuff about the place but i cant since i see the place inside out from the people who work there to the way they handle food

    im sorry but this place isnt worth your time at all

  19. i just went today by accident with a philippino friend and went in. i havenever had phillippino food or palabok fiesta before but i really liked the food. the spicy sprinkles they put on the chicken was grat! and i loved the fact that everything is either a drumstick or a nasty chicken breasts! the palabok fiesta was yummy--different, but good in my book. i had the pie and it was okay but i think i should have really gone for the sundae called halo halo. i was too full by the time i thought about it. i will most likely go back. the prices are a bit high for the area but then again, the chicken pieces are large compared to popeyes. it was also nice that they fry the chicken in small batches so it may be slow, but it's also never had hours to sit under a lamp to dry out.

  20. we were there more than 10 days ago. i thought it would be nice to have chicken joy again after 10 years. a big disappointment! service was bad. quality of food was worse; and what could be worst? a toss up between the filthy tables and chairs and the PRICE of food! for what you're getting, sobrang mahal ng meals nila, over $7 each! sayang lang ang pera nyo. punta na lang kayo sa mga pinoy resto in the area, sulit pa ang bayad nyo, enjoy pa kayo sa pagkain ng masarap na pagkaing pinoy.
    we're definitely not going back to jollibee queens!

  21. Congrats guy, you have your Jollibee branch now.

    Here in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia we face the same situation when they open their branch. Grabe ang Pila, I'm proud kasi may Pinoy brand na humataw globally. See mag one year pa lang and now they are going to open their 3rd branch in Balad area and thats in Jeddah pa lang. It shows lang na, kung suportahan lang natin ang lahat ng produktong Pinoy, Panalo ang Pilipino pati economy natin panalo. Instead of migrant workers sana turista na lang tayo na papasya-pasyal anywhere.

  22. well, can't blame the management. With you waiting for hours would mean that the food wouldn't be prepared good enough to be able to make all of the orders. But I guess other people compensate because a lot of them bring in all of their relatives. Ha, maybe family is what really brings flavor to what you're eating and not all the fatty grease that jollibee tries to give.

  23. Oh! what a sad experiene is that, Wish I will not encounter that situation. Anyway, I'll be looking for interesting post as this . Looking forward for your next post.


  24. Oh come on, you can't compare meal prices of Jollibee in the Philippines and those in the US. $7 is not bad at all. Use your common sense.

    Spaghetti and Palabok Rock!

  25. I really wouldn't place much credibility on a review where the reviewer had been waiting in line for over 2 hours. I know how difficult it is to find any kind words after a wait of that length. I mean after all, don't we all have much better things to do with our time than wait in line?

    I have no doubt the food was not as good as it appeared in the photos on the menu. Is it ever as good? After a 2 hour wait food that is even a little bit "greasy" becomes "saturated". It is only human nature to denigrate the food when one has spent 2 hours waiting in a slow moving line. I would suggest to the reviewer to try again on day the lines are not quite so lengthy. It will give you the opportunity to try the food when the staff is not so overworked and you are in a better frame of mind.

    The reason for the above comments are because they contrast so greatly with my experience at Jollibee's. I am very picky about my food and will not eat anything that even approaches what some would call "greasy food". The Chicken Joy was crispy and tasty. The Mango pie was sweet for my taste, but then I believe the food is geared to the Philippine population thus they may like it sweet. I tried an order of Jollibee spaghetti out of curiosity and found it an interesting combination of tastes and ingredients. All in all an interesting change of pace. I will go there again and if the company is listed on the stock exchange, I will buy a few hunded shares because I think Jollibees will become an American favorite in spite of the reviewers eating experience.

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  27. nakakawalang gana xa jollibee pacific mall lucena gawa ni maggie napeñas hired ng hired tax wala namang mga duty ipapatv ko yan...ayusin nyo wala ng sinisweldo ang anak ko laking laki ng bayad sa requirements...tas wag kayo mgbigay sa costumer nyo ng mga laps product....

  28. hoy maggie nabalitaan ko nga din yan.

  29. maggie mawawalan ka ng trabaho sa mga ginagawa mo.

  30. maggie taga san ka ba baka naman taga bundok ka kaya ang tanga mo.

  31. ai tama baka yan ay ita

  32. hahaha maggie e murder kana...

  33. turuan nyo nga ng maayos ang manager nyo




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