From Jollibee’s first UK restaurant to its flagship in central London, we have helped the Filipino fast-food chain launch and grow in the UK market. As the brand’s sole UK contractor, we have delivered projects in London, Leicester and Liverpool, and are trusted for our understanding of the evolving design concept and timely delivery.
Launched in Earl’s Court, London in 2018, the Filipino favourite sees queues outside the door every day. Targeting areas with a high Asian population, the brand has since opened in Leicester and Liverpool, and will be opening its flagship in London’s Leicester Square in 2021.
Following a cold call to the office, Thompsons has been Jollibee’s sole UK contractor for its first four restaurants and is in discussions about a further seven over the coming years.
Working with a design team based in the Philippines and another in the UK, we have helped translate the popular brand for the local market. Over the years, the design concept has evolved for each restaurant and has involved sending samples and mood boards over to the Philippines for approval, as well as being available for Zoom calls out of traditional UK working hours.
Having successfully adapted the design for our market, we are now just working with the UK design team. The concept is unique, and details from Jollibee’s roots in south-east Asia remain. The floor and wall joints have tiled edges instead of silicon, and there are raised concrete plinths in the back of house areas. One feature that may become more popular in other restaurants across the world following the COVID-19 pandemic is the bespoke Corian hand wash sinks in the front of house areas.
As the main contractor, the works for Jollibee’s UK restaurants have increased in complexity with each project. Most recently we completed a complex two-floor scheme in Leicester which features specialist graffiti across the double-height walls. The 11-week project handed over on 19 October 2020, during the global COVID-19 pandemic, and involved a lot of specialist groundworks and structural works to install a new staircase and mezzanine.
Leicester was the second project we delivered for Jollibee during the pandemic; the first was in Liverpool. Originally a 14-week scheme, the restaurant was due to handover at the end of April having started on 20 January 2020. However, work was stopped for a few weeks when the UK government introduced a national lockdown while we put in place precautions to ensure we could operate a safe, socially-distanced site for our operatives and client.
Despite the unprecedented situation, our team was up and running within a few weeks. We handed over the Liverpool restaurant on 11 May 2020 ready for our client to open post-lockdown.
Such is our success with Jollibee, we are currently on-site in Leicester Square, working on its six-floor flagship restaurant and head office. Due to complete in March 2021, the 16-week project is logistically challenging due to its prominent location in central London. It also involves seven staircases, new lifts and kitchens, as well as out-of-hours and European deliveries.