Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Jamie Oliver to open Italian restaurant chain in Asia

Business Times - 26 Aug 2009

(HONG KONG) Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is planning to launch 30 Italian family-style restaurants in Asia, with the first one set to open its doors to his gastronomic followers in Hong Kong early next year.

The move marks the first step in taking his chain Jamie's Italian - which now has five eateries in England - outside his hometown, to a region which takes pride in its rich diversity of international cuisine and where the economy is picking up faster than anywhere else in the world.

'Why Asia? Of all the markets, it has by far the fastest-growing economy,' said Edward Pinshow, president of Tranic Franchising, which formed a venture with Jamie's Italian International for the Asia expansion. 'The Chinese have become extremely fond of Italian food. In Japan, Jamie's become a household name,' he said yesterday.

Mr Pinshow told AFP that the first stage of the expansion was to open six restaurants in Hong Kong and Singapore, for which he is now raising about US$200 million.

They plan to roll out another 24 eateries in other parts of the region over the next five years, with China, Japan, Taiwan and Korea among the most likely candidates for location.

Mr Pinshow said they are now working hard to get their first restaurant - a 5,000 sq ft, 180-seat venue in Hong Kong - ready for opening in the second quarter of next year.

He said the menu would offer a full-course meal with antipasti, main dish, dessert, plus a glass of Italian wine, for an average of HK$300 (S$55.70) per head\. \-- AFP

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