Hundreds of people stood in a line outside Calgary’s first-ever Jollibee restaurant on Friday as the location swung its doors open for the first time.
Jollibee is the largest fast-food chain in the Philippines. Its signature menu items include the Jolly crispy chicken, the sweet-style Jolly spaghetti and the chain’s peach mango pie.
There are currently seven locations across Canada, with the Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC) saying it plans to open 100 branches in the country by 2023.
On Thursday afternoon, a lineup could already be seen stretching along the side of the Calgary building.
Tim Nixon, the first person in line, said he arrived at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
“Another lady came about 8 p.m. or 8:30 p.m.,” he said.
WATCH: Matthew Conrod was one of the first people to get inside Calgary’s first Jollibee fast-food restaurant location on Sept. 20, 2019.
The line began growing, and eventually about 400 people were waiting with Nixon.
“I didn’t have a clue what was going to happen here,” Nixon said. “This is a total shock for me.”
Nixon said he had tried Jollibee’s fried chicken before at a location in Las Vegas.
“We’re very optimistic about the future of Jollibee in Canada, specifically in Alberta,” Maribeth Dela Cruz from JFC North America said.
“To have this big crowd, it’s really overwhelming and we’re humbled by the turnout.”
The opening of the Edmonton Jollibee drew a massive crowd, with a total of 8,000 customers served on its first day of operation.
The first customer served was a local resident who waited in line for three days to visit the restaurant, even though he had never tried Jollibee before.
WATCH: Jollibee opens its first Alberta restaurant in Edmonton
“As the most populated city in Alberta and home to more than 100,000 Filipinos, Calgary was the natural choice for the next store location,” JFC said in a news release.
To celebrate the opening of the Calgary restaurant, Jollibee gave the first 50 people in line who to make a purchase of $25 or more a year’s supply of Jolly Crispy Chicken — a six-piece bucket of chicken every month for a year.
In addition, those in line carrying “the most unique banners or posters” with the hashtag #ItsOurTurn were given a Jollibee Funko Pop.
Calgary’s Jollibee is located at 999 36 St. N.E. and began serving customers at 7 a.m. on Sept. 20.