Using More than 2cm Thick Meat and Marinating It in a Special Sauce Made with Natural Ingredients
A thick iron plate is on a large drum heated by a fire from the burning briquette of coal inside the drum. Around the iron plate, there are several stools so small in size that a person can just manage to sit. That is a common scene from the dwaeji-galbi (grilled spareribs or pork ribs) eateries of Korea in the 1960s. The small restaurants provided a casual and relaxed ambience where people exhausted from arduous routines and college students with light pockets chatted about this and that while having a drink late into the night.
LEEHYEJOO SUJEGALBI, a franchise brand run by Restaurant Doctor Co., Ltd., invokes in Koreans the nostalgic memories of those days by offering dwaeji-galbi that is more delicious and affordable that the western-style steak.
Launched LEEHYEJOO SUJEGALBI in 2014 Based on Knowhow in Food Service Consulting
The Restaurant Doctor is originally a food service consulting company helping food enterprises change the business type. First started in Changwon City of South Gyeongsang Province, it is gaining recognition nationwide. The company provides comprehensive consulting and training services on the details associated with the operation of restaurants―opening or conversion of the business, franchising, and solutions to poor sales and difficulty in developing a new menu. Based on the knowhow in consulting and training, the Restaurant Doctor created LEEHYEJOO SUJEGALBI in 2014 to demonstrate to aspiring entrepreneurs an example of a successful venture into the food service and restaurant business. Mr. Lee Chan-bae, a marketing team leader of LEEHYEJOO SUJEGALBI, said that the restaurant brand was created with minimal investment in interior design, which is in contrast to many franchisees that have to spend a huge proportion of their startup expenses on interior design. According to Mr. Lee, the company pursues the principle of reducing the cost burden and focusing on the food itself.
Special Sauce Made through 258 Attempts of Trial and Error
In only one year, LEEHYEJOO SUJEGALBI is growing fast. Around 70 stores opened in Korea alone in the five months after the brand was launched. Such fast growth is attributed to the excellent taste of the dwaeji-galbi it serves. LEEHYEJOO SUJEGALBI uses a meat portion different from the ones generally used to make sparerib dishes. Instead of the common picnic and ham portions, the company takes the upper ribs that are a perfect fit for marinated rib dishes.
With this meat portion, the company developed a hot seller: Steak Suje-galbi (steak-like homemade dwaeji-galbi). The dish is made with the meat that is more than 2cm thick. It is similar to the thickness of steaks but three times thicker than the average thickness of dwaeji-galbi.
Despite the thickness, the texture of the meat is surprisingly tender. The soft feeling in the mouth is due to the cooking process―manually making cuts in the meat and marinating it in a palatable sauce for more than 48 hours. The special sauce is made with the juice of pears and onions in order to enhance the natural sweetness. Thus no meat tenderizers or artificial caramel sauces are used. What’s more, some water boiled down with red-pepper seeds is added to the sauce. Mr. Lee introduces the sauce, “The sauce made with pear and onion juice and the special water is inspired by the sauce for ganjang-gejang (crab marinated in soy sauce). To find the optimal ratio of the ingredients, we went through 258 attempts of trial and error.”
Other Popular Entries: Bakpo-Galbi and Yukhoe-Jaengban-Naengmyeon
In addition to the Steak Suje-galbi, the restaurants serve Bakpo-galbi and Yukhoe-jaengban-naengmyeon. Bakpo-galbi is another name for bbeosamgyeop-galbi, a bone and pork belly rib dish featured in ancient books. It refers to a pork belly portion with ribs from the lower portion of spareribs. The dish thereby brings together two tastes―that of pork ribs and of the belly. The taste is softer than that of the general variety of grilled pork belly. LEEHYEJOO SUJEGALBI serves Bakpo-galbi slightly salted and without other sauces added. The Yukhoe-jaengban-naengmyeon was born as a combination of yukhoe (Korean-style beef tartare) and naengmyeon (cold noodles). Thus, it is also a harmony of two tastes: fresh yukhoe and spicy-sweet bibim-naengmyeon (spicy cold buckwheat noodles). It can also be enjoyed as mul-naengmyeon (buckwheat noodles in cold soup) with the addition of a chilled meat broth.
Preparing to Enter Foreign Markets…Store Scheduled to Open in Shanghai in November
Based on its fast growth in Korea and the startup-related knowhow, LEEHYEJOO SUJEGALBI is now preparing to enter foreign markets. It has been participating in franchise exhibitions held at home and abroad since June. By doing so, the company is trying to promote LEEHYEJOO SUJEGALBI to foreign buyers and people engaged in the food service and restaurant business. Currently, it is conducting negotiations to open a store with a Chinese company that approached LEEHYEJOO SUJEGALBI at a food exhibition. Mr. Lee mentioned that the first oversees restaurant will be set up in Shanghai and opened in November. He adds, “LEEHYEJOO SUJEGALBI is also involved in discussions with a Malaysian company and a Singaporean company about opening stores in those countries. We are planning to introduce some additional entries on the menu of overseas stores in order to appeal to local people.”
Help Yourself in a Salad Bar
LEEHYEJOO SUJEGALBI operates a salad bar for customers where they can eat as much as they want. The salad bar includes an assortment of vegetables such as lettuce and perilla leaves and a variety of simple dishes such as corn salad and tofu kimchi. It also provides other accompaniments such as potatoes, corn, and mushrooms that can be grilled together with meat on a charcoal fire. There is no separate fee for using the salad bar. Mr. Lee said that customers can enjoy the experience of selecting what they want to eat and how much. This is despite the little inconvenience involved with the inevitable feature of the salad bar, self-service. In addition to the salad bar, LEEHYEJOO SUJEGALBI operates small cafes inside the restaurants where customers can enjoy various coffees and teas free of charge.
Inquiries LEEHYEJOO SUJEGALBI
Park Sung Eun firstname.lastname@example.org
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