The Philippines’ favourite fast food chain is opening in Europe

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Image: Sabangan/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

Italians, get your stomachs ready.

Filipino fast-food giant Jollibee is making its foray into the European market, with plans to open its first store in Italy.

The company announced its plans, saying Italy’s 200,000 Filipinos — the biggest Filipino expat group in Europe — presented a great first step for the company into the region.

"We’re looking at Italy…we will follow where the Pinoys (slang for Filipinos) are", said Jose Minana Jr, president of the Jollibee group, in an interview last year.

Jollibee has gained somewhat of a cult following among Filipinos, and is well known for its fried chicken and spaghetti offerings.

The Jolly Spaghetti, which is vastly different from any typical Italian pasta dish, is served with sweetened Bolognese sauce and comes with cut up hot dogs.

But will Italians balk at sweet tomato sauce on pasta?

Jollibee is set to open its first store in Italy! Is Italy ready for our sweet spaghetti? Lol 🍝

— Mickey (@naughtykiddo) April 4, 2017

So Jollibee’s going to open its 1st store in Italy. I wonder how the JollySpaghetti’s going to do. Tough crowd. @bloombergtvph @BloombergTV

— John Patrick Ong (@johnpatrickong8) April 3, 2017

The Jollibee group will be entering into a joint venture with Blackbird Holdings, a Singaporean F&B company, to own and operate the store in Italy.

Both companies have committed to invest up to €1 million ($1.06 million) in the venture — 75 percent of which will be owned by the Filipino company under its international unit, Golden Plate Pte Ltd.

Jollibee is the largest fast-food chain in the Philippines, with 750 stores locally and over 3,000 outlets worldwide, including countries like China, the US, Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia.

Last year, the opening of Jollibee’s first Canadian outlet saw fans queueing for up to six hours overnight in the snow.