Chaswood goes Japanese with Watami
Chaswood Resources Sdn Bhd, operator of TGI Friday's outlets, has won the franchise rights to open Watami restaurants in Malaysia, as it seeks to fill a vacuum in the market for Japanese food.
Managing director Andrew Reddy said the market now offers fast-food Japanese outlets and the more expensive fine-dining outlets. But this leaves nothing in between.
"The Watami proposition - full-range menu, the use of quality ingredients, supreme service framed with a casual dining concept - and affordable to the mid-income segment, is very appealing," he said in a statement.
This is the first franchise licence to be given out by the Watami Group, which owns and operates more than 600 restaurants in Japan.
Established in 1982, Watami is one of the most established restaurant chains in Japan. There are 35 restaurants worldwide in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Singapore via joint-ventures or its own outlets.
Malaysia's first Watami restaurant is scheduled to be opened by December or within the first quarter of next year if there is space available in a prime city location.
Chaswood's long-term plan is to open 10 Watami outlets in six years.
Chaswood Resources is the franchise holder of TGI Friday's in Malaysia and Singapore. It also owns and operates Italiannies, The Apartment Restaurant & Bar, Teh Tarik Place, Republic, Malones, and Laundry Bar.
As at June 2010, the group operates 31 restaurants, cafes and bars including TGI Friday's and Italiannies in Singapore.