A Variety of Korean Dishes from A La Carte Dishes to Snacks
Korean food franchise companies are actively advancing to foreign markets on the wings of the popularity of Hallyu (Korean popular culture such as K-Pop and TV dramas).
The types of food served in the franchise restaurants are also very diverse: from traditional Korean dishes such as bulgogi (thin slices of beef marinated in soy sauce) and bibimbap (rice mixed with vegetables and beef) to popular everyday dishes―bokkeumbap (fired rice), samgyeopsal-gui (grilled pork belly), Korean-style fried chicken, and so on. These days, there is a trend to offer a wide selection of dishes at a franchise restaurant so that foreign visitors can get a taste of many Korean foods at once. J-story, run by Korean food franchiser DAEHOGA, is one such brand. Its restaurants serve over 50 different dishes―juk (Korean-style porridge), bibimbap, topokki (stir-fried rice cake), dakgalbi (spicy stir-fried chicken), and so on.
Operating 30 Stores in China, Japan, and Other Countries
J-story started to prepare for advancing overseas in 2006. After over a year of market research, it opened the first restaurant in Yanji City of China in 2008. The first restaurant received favorable evaluations, and DAEHOGA now runs 24 stores in the country. Last year, the food franchiser succeeded in advancing to several other countries―Singapore, the US, and Japan.
Mr. Park Min-kyu, an executive director at DAEHOGA, introduces his company, “We anticipated that the Chinese food industry would grow fast around the time of the Beijing Olympics (2008) and started actively pioneering the Chinese market. The popularity of Hallyu played a very important role, and now our 30 restaurants in China and other countries are receiving a lot of attention from foreign consumers.”
Overseas Popularity of Juk as a Healthy Food
Along with some 50 different kinds of Korean dishes―bibimbap, topokki, dakgalbi, and so on―J-story offers several different types of Korean-style porridge called juk. Other Korean franchises overseas rarely put juk on the menu because the dish is relatively less familiar to foreigners. DAEHOGA, however, decided to make the full use of its experience in operating a network of juk restaurants.
Mr. Park says, “The response of the Chinese to juk was even better than we expected. Sales of juk dishes now account for over 40 percent of our total sales in China.”
Juk is also whetting the curiosity of other foreign consumers―in Sin-gapore, Japan, and the US―as a healthy food. In those countries, sales of juk in J-story have reached 20 percent of the company’s total sales.
Keeping the Original Taste of Korean Dish Overseas
Jeonbok-juk (porridge with abalone) is the most popular among the juk dishes served in J-story overseas. It is made of fresh abalones and rice and is good for overcoming fatigue.
Songi-buseot-juk, cooked with pine mushrooms, also has many fans abroad. What’s more, J-story offers songi-jeonbok-juk that lets customers taste pine mushrooms and abalones at the same time.
Mr. Park explains, “The base of juk is stock. We supply the stock directly from Korea to keep the original taste of the dish. In fact, all the dishes of J-story taste the same as they do in Korea.”
“Other popular dishes of the franchise include fusion bibimbap: chicken-teriyaki-bibimbap (bibimbap mixed with fresh vegetables and chicken tenderloin) and gangdoenjang-bibimbap (with gangdoenjang, a thick soybean paste, replacing red pepper paste gochujang).” Topokki, a representative Korean street food, has also ranked high in our sales.”
Mr. Park emphasizes, “We often cook with high quality local products as ingredients, but we make it a rule to use only Korean products for traditional sauces such as doenjang and gochujang because they determine the taste of Korean dishes.”
Steady Advance into New Markets…Preparing to Enter Mongolia
J-story is planning to raise the brand awareness overseas by steadily improving the menu and carefully managing the restaurants. The food franchiser is also cultivating new markets. It is negotiating an opening of a store with a Mongolian food company.
Mr. Park says, “After advancing to Mongolia, we are going to enter Indonesia. We will make our restaurants a space for foreigners to enjoy Korean cuisine without a burden.”
Dakgalbi Franchise of DAEHOGA, Dakgalbi Story
Dakgalbi is a grilled dish made of trimmed and chopped chicken, seasonings such as gochujang, and plenty of vegetables. Its merit is a harmony of the simple taste of chicken and the spiciness of gochujang. Dakgalbi Story is a food franchiser specializing in dakgalbi. It is the next in line to advance overseas after J-story. The brand is eyeing China as its first destination.
Mr. Park explains, “Chicken is a popular cooking ingredient enjoyed in many cultures abroad. It is widely used everywhere. With the current worldwide interest in gochujang, we anticipate that dakgalbi, which is made with chicken and gochujang, will obtain a good response among foreign people.”
Park Sung Eun email@example.com
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