Archive for May, 2013

Fatburger to Enter India

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Fatburger is moving into India for the first time with a menu that will not include beef.

Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Fatburger earlier this month inked a 25-unit deal with VAZZ Foods Private Limited, a food and beverage distributor, and owner Vikramjit Singh to bring the burger brand into Northern India.

VAZZ Foods will also later grow the brand in the southwest region of India with another 25 restaurants within the next five years, said Andy Wiederhorn, Fatburger’s chief executive.

Because cows are venerated in parts of India and many people do not eat beef, Wiederhorn said the menu will adapt to local preferences, offering a full line of chicken, turkey and veggie burger options, as well as a new lamb burger in Northern India.

Wiederhorn said the potential for the brand in India is “mind blowing” as the disposable income of consumers in the densely populated region is expected to grow exponentially in coming years. “We want to establish ourselves as a premium burger brand now, rather than wait to see what’s coming,” he said.

Fatburger has been pushing overseas growth. The chain operates in 27 countries, and this weekend it will open a first unit in Cairo, Egypt. A first unit in Lahore, Pakistan, is scheduled to open on May 31.

India has become a hot growth target for other restaurant companies as well.

Aliso Viejo-Calif.-based Johnny Rockets announced a move into India earlier this year. Others growing in the region include Rita’s Italian Ice, Pinkberry, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and Yum! Brands Inc. with its Pizza Hut and KFC brands.

Both Subway and McDonald’s have also been growing vegetarian-only units in India in recent years.

Long John Silver’s Names First Chief Food Innovation Officer

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Long John Silver’s has named Marie Zhang to the newly created position of chief food innovation officer.

Zhang will oversee menu development, food safety and the supply chain for the company in the new position. Her career in the foodservice industry spans 20 years and includes previous stints at ConAgra Foods and Peer Foods Group Inc. Most recently, Zhang led new-product development and oversaw food safety and supply chain for Atlanta-based HoneyBaked Ham for nearly nine years.

“Marie is a terrific addition to our incredibly experienced leadership team,” Long John Silver’s chief executive Mike Kern said in a statement. “She is very focused on managing our supply chain to be cost-efficient and developing new products that drive increased profitability for our restaurants.”

Zhang joins Long John Silver’s as the Louisville, Ky.-based brand starts its next phase of revitalization following its September 2011 spinoff from Yum! Brands Inc.

In January, the quick-service seafood chain restructured its menu for the first time in a decade, rolling out new entrees like Creamy Garlic Cod, Zesty Asian Cod and Shrimp Scampi. Long John Silver’s also upgraded its hush puppies, tartar sauce and cocktail sauce, and extended new side dishes to family meals, such as creamy cole slaw, natural-cut fries, seasoned green beans and rice, corn on the cob, and battered onion rings.

Long John Silver’s franchises more than 1,300 restaurants in the United States and Asia.