Restaurant chain Maxim's Caterers will launch its cha chaan teng business on the mainland, and aims to open at least 12 outlets in southern provinces by 2013. John Sham Yuen-pang, Maxim's general manager for quick-service restaurant and catering services, said the company would open its first two cha chaan teng, or Hong Kong-style tea cafes, in Shenzhen next month. 'Mainlanders are more familiar with cha chaan teng than Hong Kong-style fast food restaurants,' Sham said. He said the performance of the cafes, under the Maxim's Hong Kong Day brand, would help the company decide whether it to open fast food shops on the mainland. 'First we will open our Guangdong stores, starting with Shenzhen. After we have around 12 to 15 branches in southern China in the first quarter of 2013, we will consider expanding to the north,' he said. Sham did not reveal the amount of investment involved, but said the cost would be 30 per cent to 40 per cent lower than in Hong Kong. He said he expected the new mainland outlets to generate profits immediately and to have profit margins a quarter higher than those in Hong Kong two years after launch. Maxim's operates three Genki Sushi restaurants and a bakery cafe in Shenzhen, as well as a Chinese restaurant in Shanghai. Apart from its mooncake and cake shop businesses, it also provides in-flight catering at 12 mainland airports. The company has 83 restaurants in Hong Kong, including its Maxim's MX, and Maxim's Hong Kong Day outlets. It will expand to 89 restaurants by the end of this year. Sham said the recently implemented minimum wage law was not having a huge impact on the company's business, and it was trying to lower costs by expanding and boosting its revenue - which grew by slightly less than 10 per cent annually in the first half of this year. 'I think it'll take about 12 to 18 months for the industry to recover from the impact and get used to it,' he said. The salaries of some staff had risen by about half from between HK$5,800 and HK$6,000 per month to HK$8,400 and HK$8,680. In the face of higher food, staff and rent costs, Sham said, Maxim's MX raised prices for about 40 per cent of items by 3 per cent to 5 per cent in the first six months of this year.