Local fans will be treated to the original taste and quality of Shake Shack's crispy fried chicken sandwiches and all-natural beef burgers when the US burger-and-fries chain opens its first outlet in South Korea this week, the operator said Friday.
Under an exclusive license deal, SPC Group, a leading food and confectionary producer, will open the outlet Friday in one of Seoul's most crowded streets in Gangnam which has gained a global fame due to rapper Psy's "Gangnam Style" music video.
South Korea's competitive fast casual food and hamburger market is split by foreign and domestic brands such as Burger King, McDonald, KFC, and Lotteria. But SPC marketing chief Hur Hee-soo remained confident that Shake Shack would be successful in South Korea to become a popular brand.
Hur said he was impressed with Shake Shack's corporate culture and "warm hospitality" shown by its employees during his trip to New York five years ago. "I have a firm conviction that if combined with our (marketing) power, Shake Shack will grow into a brand loved by South Koreans," he told reporters.
The menu at the South Korean outlet will be supervised closely by the chain's US headquarters to maintain its original quality, taste and diversity, he said. The standard burger is priced at 6,900 won (6.1 US dollars).
Shake Shack, owned by restaurateur Danny Meyer, is known for its use of antibiotic- and hormone-free meat and an eco-friendly business design that promotes composting food waste, reusing cooking oil and utilizing recyclable packaging. It started as a food cart in Manhattan's Madison Square Park in 2001 and eventually grew into a full-service kiosk in 2004.
SPC's local rival CJ Group, a food and entertainment conglomerate, has jumped into the race to buy or jointly run the South Korean unit of US iconic fast food chain McDonald's which has seen its business shrinking due to tough competition with a number of local and foreign chains.
McDonald's has struggled to reorganize its operations in East Asia by looking for local partners to run its outlets as franchise stores in return for commissions. There are more than 400 McDonald's stores in South Korea.
Aju News Lim Chang-won = email@example.com
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