Japanese Cuisine – It’s Not All Sushi!

Japanese food has grown in popularity the last 10 years pretty much everywhere in the world.  Almost everyone associates sushi with Japanese food but not much else.  In the USA there are sushi counters in almost every grocery store in upper middle income areas and the trend shows no sign of slowing down soon.  In […]

Caffe Bene – Is It For Real?

The online edition of Forbes Magazine had a recent article about the remarkable growth of the Caffe′ Bene coffee house chain since its debut in 2008.  The chain surpassed Starbucks in Korea and has 900 locations currently.  Since the first USA outlet on Times Square in 2012, the concept has grown to 86 locations there.  […]

The Starbucks Effect – Even KFC Cannot Resist!

I read an article today in the China Daily that described KFC’s latest attempt to stay relevant in Beijing  by adding Wifi and creating a more comfortable atmosphere where guests can hang out.  New store designs will include off-white and grey walls with paintings as well as wooden booths separated by plants and glass – […]

From BRIC’s to MINT’s!

Jim O’Neill, the former Goldman Sachs economist who coined the term BRIC, is now taking about a new group of countries he calls MINT – Mexico, Indonesia, Indonesia and Turkey.  All four could be considered turbulent markets with very high risk.  Let’s take a look at the Asia Pacific component of this new cluster – […]

Wealth Gap Impacts USA Restaurant Trends!

We all hear and read about rising income inequality and the wealth gap and these trends certainly appear to be impacting restaurants in the USA as well.  A recent study by NPD Group found that visits to fine dining concepts increased by 5% in 2013 compared to the previous year, the first growth in customer […]

Refresh Your Concept or Die Slowly!

CNBC, a USA financial network, announced recently that KFC had discreetly set up a new concept to test in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas. The concept, Super Chix, looks remarkably similar to its main competitor and now industry leader in the QSR chicken segment, Chick-Fil-A. The image and menu communicate a premium positioning, something of […]

Property Wars in Singapore and Hong Kong

Over the past few days I came across some interesting news that would make anyone think twice before opening any type of retail store in Singapore or Hong Kong, especially in the F&B space. Lyn Lee, founder of the popular Singapore chain, Awfully Chocolate, was on CNBC”s  Managing Asia program.  Profits for her business have […]

Master Franchising Is Not Always the Best Approach for Asian Entrepreneurs

I travel extensively around the Asia-Pacific region, especially to the emerging markets like China, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam.  These markets are very price sensitive and local restaurant entrepreneurs are always looking to bring overseas brands to their market.  Many soon discover that the terms and conditions of the Master Franchiser make the model uneconomical […]