CEBU-BASED Filipino restaurant chain Kuya J is starting the year on a high note as it opens its latest branch at the recently-opened Ruban Deca Mall in Tondo, Manila. The new branch is the first store opening of the company for this year, with 18 additional branches currently in various stages of construction. The Kuya J Group is targeting 40 branches of its Filipino restaurant branch to open in 2020.
Kuya J Group COO Richard Li shared that the company is targeting almost every city, not just the large metropolises of the country “We’re looking to open branches in almost every other city that makes sense to us because it’s always about the trade area. We can open a branch in a third-class municipality because there is heavy foot traffic. We are also looking at where we at currently and places where we feel there is an underserved market,” he shared.
The new branch in Tondo also echoes the new look and concept of Kuya J which has updated itself to keep up with customer trends. Gone is the staid classic restaurant look, which is replaced by a more modern and chic design evoking a rustic home.
The Urban Deca Mall branch also combines the restaurant concept with Kuya J’s new café concept, allowing it to market itself to a wider client base. “We saw that Kuya J is about family but at the same time, we saw that there is a need for us to serve barkadas and millennials. It’s a younger take on the existing Kuya J’s. It has a more relaxed feel” Li shared.
The new look and concept were first launched in the latest 4 stores that the company opened, starting with the Eastwood branch. The Kuya J Group said that all of the new branches will follow the new concept while older restaurants will be updated to the new design as well over the course of time.
Helping the expansion of the brand is the new franchising system that Kuya J launched last year. Unlike most franchising concepts, the company opted to wait until its 100th branch has opened before it decided to open the concept for franchising. Li said that this move allowed the company to hone its business operations in preparation for franchising. “We currently have 5 franchisees and by the end of this year, we will have either double or triple that number,” he shared,