South Korean fried chicken chain Bb.q Chicken had a banner year in the United States in 2021, growing from 51 units to 86 and enjoying a total sales increase of $54.2 million to 76.9 millions of dollars.
The fully franchised chain, which has more than 3,500 restaurants in 57 countries around the world, is expected to grow to 150 national locations this year and 250 by the end of 2023, CEO Joseph Kim said.
“Bb.q means ‘the best of the best quality,'” he said. “We are committed to serving only the most authentic and delicious Korean fried chicken and [other Korean food]. Our goal is to give customers a taste of Seoul.
Founded in 1995, the chain arrived in the United States in 2014, serving a dozen different flavors of fried chicken, ranging from standard chicken pieces and wings without sauce to “Cheesling”, with a powdered cheese filling, and ” Gangnam Style” with a black pepper sauce, green onions, garlic and bell peppers. Other options include the kalbi style, mimicking the marinade for Korean grilled spare ribs and topped with scallions and sesame seeds, and a limited-time offering now available called Maple Crunch – boneless or traditional wings in a glaze butter, garlic and maple syrup.
The chain also offers traditional Korean dishes such as kimchi fried rice and ddeok-bokki, a spicy stew of rice cakes and fish cakes with onions and scallions. Sides include fries, onion rings and cheese sticks as well as fried dumplings, corn salad and pickled radishes.
Franchisees can opt for the takeout-only Bb.q Chicken Express, the casual and fast-paced Bb.q Chicken Café, or the Bb.q Chicken and Beer, which offers full table service and a bar.
“This year we will open our first Bb.q smart kitchen, or BSK for short, where customers will order electronically and our team will place full orders from food lockers,” Kim added. “This means faster service for customers and lower labor costs for the operator.”
Kim credits the success of the past year to the chain’s authenticity and commitment to educating franchisees.
“Those are also the two main reasons why we are different,” he said.
“Many international food brands change their food to be more American when they franchise in the United States,” he added. “Bb.q Chicken doesn’t do that. Our cuisine is always authentically Korean. We mix our sauces the same way in the US as we do at our Seoul locations. »
Additionally, franchisees are educated at the chain’s Chicken University, which was opened in South Korea in 1999 for research and development as well as franchise training.
“Chicken University gives our franchisees the knowledge they need to succeed,” added Kim, saying the company has long had a philosophy that it thrives when its franchisees do.
Kim said that aside from BSK’s first opening in 2022, Bb.q Chicken is on track to expand to seven new states: Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Oklahoma.
The chain is also launching a new website in the second quarter, which Kim says hopes to attract more franchisees and customers.
Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary
The Top 500 report is presented by Nation’s Restaurant News and Datassential, using information from Datassential’s proprietary Firefly platform. Datassential’s Firefly is the ultimate strategy tool – #1 trader database, lead generator, customer marketing and intelligence platform, all in one. Learn more about getting full access at datassential.com/firefly.