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Korean-style Fried Chicken, Allures Even the Fussy American Consumers

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The Combination of Sweet and Spicy Sauce, Crispy Crust, and Juicy Flesh

 

When Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), the representative chicken brand of the USA, was first introduced in Korea, the consumers immediately fell for the salty and spicy taste they had never had when eating chicken before. KFC is still very popular in Korea, but just as Koreans discovered KFC for the first time many years ago, Americans are now discovering the Korean-style fried chicken. Korean chicken enterprises are growing fast as many American consumers enjoy the crispy texture of the twice fried chicken, its juicy flesh, and delicious, addictive sauce. It is all the more meaningful that the Korean chicken is spreading fast in the very country where Kentucky Fried Chicken originated. The development has been so noticeable that the New York Times reported on it in 2007. Now, some American food companies are trying to benchmark the cooking style of Korean chicken. At the center of their attention is the Korean-style fried chicken franchise company BonChon Inc. The company opened its first store in New York six years ago, in 2006.

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Front-runner in Korean-style Fried Chicken


BonChon was the first of all Korean chicken businesses to land in the American market. Within just a year of opening a restaurant in New York, BonChon evolved into an enterprise with 11 franchises in several states including New York and New Jersey. Now, the company runs as many as 25 stores in America. A whopping 80 percent of its main customers are the local people. Now that the chicken chain has successfully settled in America, Seo Jin-duk, CEO of BonChon, plans to concentrate his efforts on the franchise business in the American market rather than cultivating it further in Korea. 
One of the reasons how BonChon Chicken was able to capture the tastes of American consumers is its crispiness. Although all the Korean-style fried chicken companies offer crispy chicken, the texture of BonChon Chicken is different and the best. Mr. Seo says that he has been constantly striving to further improve the frying method, especially the way to cover the chicken with a crispy crust while retaining the tender flesh.

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Another secret of the brand’s success is the sauce. Local media in the US have praised the sauce highly, calling it “one-of-a-kind” and “fantastic.” BonChon offers two types of sauces - sweetish-salty ganjang (soy sauce) sauce and spicy sauce. To make the latter, BonChon invariably uses only top-notch ingredients produced in Korea. Mr. Seo believes that only Korean ingredients - like Korean red pepper powder in which the sweetish and spicy tastes are in perfect proportion and harmony, and the piquant garlic from Korea - can make the delicious spicy sauce. He added, “For this reason, we cannot help but use only the sauces that are made in our factory located in Daegu, Korea.”

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Thorough Hygiene Control…State-of-the -art Sauce Factory to Be Added in June

BonChon pays a lot of attention to food hygiene. As a fried food enterprise, it cares most about the frying oil and frying appliances. It is a rule to change all the oil and clean all the appliances every day, no matter what. 
To bring the hygiene policy even closer to perfection, this year BonChon plans to add a new sauce-line annex to the existing factory in Daegu. The facility will enable complete automation of the entire sauce-production process including the cleaning step. Mr. Seo is confident that by June BonChon will have been equipped with an undoubtedly safe factory.

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Planning to Advance into Chinese and European Markets This Year


Riding on its success in America, BonChon has been spurring its business into Southeast Asia since 2010. Some businessmen from the region tried BonChon Chicken when they visited the USA and wanted to open franchisees in their home countries. Now, 43 BonChon restaurants are operated in the Philippines alone, and 64 stores in total are thriving in six Asian countries including Indonesia and Thailand.
BonChon will continue to work hard to enter more overseas markets this year. It will open stores in China. Last December, it concluded an MOU with a Chinese company in Beijing and thus it is planning to open the first Chinese stores this February or March. But the company won’t stop at China. Another big target for BonChon is Europe. Mr. Seo said, “We will use the lessons we’ve learned through our experiences in the American and Southeast Asian markets toward succeeding in Europe. Our first destination there will be the United Kingdom.” 

Inquiries  BonChon Inc.       
Tel   +82-53-526-9292       
Fax   +82-53-521-8822       
Website  www.bonchon.com          

Park Sung Eun  parkse@agrinet.co.kr

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