Malaysia Country Report

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Discovery Reports

BFood offerstaste of success with restaurant franchises

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 December, 2015, 11:57am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 March, 2016, 5:09pm

Asian cuisine is a rich melting pot of food from different cultures. With a penchant for flavourful dishes, Asians have one of the most diversified palates - shaped by the creative use of spices, grains and meat. Berjaya Food (BFood) takes pride in further enriching Asian tastes with food and beverage establishments that treat customers to a different kind of gastronomic experience.

Berjaya Corp, a conglomerate that has made a mark in Malaysia and the rest of Asia since 1984, has brought renowned franchises to Malaysia such as Kenny Rogers Roasters (KRR), Starbucks Coffee, Jollibean Foods, Wendy's, Papa John's Pizza and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.

As part of Berjaya, BFood has extensive knowledge of the markets where it is present. This has enabled BFood to successfully adapt international brands to suit Asian eating habits.

Listed on the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia on March 8, 2011, BFood is primarily engaged in developing the KRR chain of restaurants in Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia. It also develops Starbucks Coffee stores in Malaysia and Brunei and Jollibean Foods outlets in Singapore and Malaysia.

Stringent quality control measures play an important role in helping BFood safeguard the original premise of its international franchises. In KRR, BFood ensures that its menu consists of healthy and tasty offerings such as its signature rotisserie-roasted chicken with a variety of hot and cold side dishes, home-made muffins, pasta and sandwiches.

Berjaya holds the worldwide franchise of KRR after acquiring it from New York-based fast-food chain Nathan's Famous. KRR was well-received in Asia but growth slowed in 1998, prompting the company to re-evaluate its business strategy. After revamping the menu and transforming the dining concept from self-service to table-service restaurant, Berjaya turned KRR around.

"People are willing to pay extra for the convenience of having fresh and hot food delivered to the table. This is Asia after all, people want warm food," says BFood CEO Francis Lee.

Today, BFood operates 100 KRR restaurants in Malaysia, 25 in Indonesia and one in Cambodia, with plans to expand the KRR brand in Thailand and Vietnam via the franchise route through Berjaya. Through franchisees managed by Berjaya, KRR is also present in Singapore, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Dubai and selected territories in China. It will soon establish its presence in India.

Berjaya applied the same localisation principles when it brought Starbucks to Malaysia in 1998. Instead of a takeaway place where customers quickly grab a cup of coffee or pastries for breakfast like in the United States, BFood factored in the social nature of Asian customers when it built Starbucks stores. The company furnished the stores with comfortable sofas where people can relax. BFood is operating more than 200 Starbucks stores across Malaysia and recently spread its wings to Brunei, where it has opened three stores within the span of one year.

Behind BFood's success with KRR and Starbucks is its people. The company believes in cultivating a nurturing environment where people strive to excel. By providing intensive training to its employees, BFood ensures that its staff are well-equipped to serve customers.

"It all starts with our people. We make sure they are happy to be working with the group and that they share our passion because they are the ones who make our stores work," Lee says.

BFood's exemplary employment practices have earned Starbucks Malaysia the Best of the Best award in the Aon Hewitt Best Employers - Malaysia 2015 Awards.

As much as BFood and Berjaya look forward to growing their restaurants across Asia, the companies also welcome partnerships with companies seeking to enter the Malaysian consumer food service market.

"Berjaya is a well-known and respected company in Malaysia. We can leverage the group's strength to help them build a profitable business here," Lee says.

Berjaya Food (BFood)