Wowprime Corp (王品集團) expects group sales this year to break the NT$17 billion (US$566 million) mark, following the launch of its new Italian restaurant brand yesterday.
Wowprime officially opened the first outlet of its new medium-price brand Ita (義塔創義料理) in Greater Taichung yesterday, with the average customer expenditure set at about NT$400.
Ita — the group’s 15th brand globally and 13th brand in Taiwan — mainly serves set meals, with pastas and pizzas the main dishes.
“With the strategy to launch a new brand each year with a steady expansion plan, the group might maintain its growing pace of between 10 and 30 percent in sales every year,” Wowprime chairman Steve Day (戴勝益) told a media briefing.
Day is confident the group’s consolidated revenue will exceed NT$17 billion this year, compared with NT$14.88 billion recorded last year, but at the same time Wowprime is slowing its rate of store expansions in Taiwan and China.
The group plans to open 80 new stores across the Taiwan Strait this year, slower than an earlier target of opening 100 new stores, citing lower-than-expected human resource training.
“The group’s training resources for new employees have been tighter than expected, imposing an downward adjustment of this year’s global expansion,” Day said.
Wowprime currently operates 15 restaurant chains with more than 380 outlets in Taiwan and China, with the trend of expansion in the future to be focused on medium-price brands with an average customer expenditure of NT$400 or less.
As for the Ita brand, the group targets a 10 to 15 percent profitability ratio for it, in line with its goal for other brands.
Ita president Annie Yang (楊秀慧) maintained a bullish outlook, saying the brand might start generating profit for Wowprime in six months, the fastest pace ever among all the group’s brands.
“We are ready to launch operation of the second Ita outlet in Greater Taichung next month, with the third and the fourth outlets to be opened in Taipei by the end of this year,” said Yang, who is also the creator of Wowprime’s premium teppanyaki brand Chamonix (夏慕尼新香榭鐵板燒).
Wowprime is scheduled to raise its total number of outlets under the Ita brand in Taiwan to 60 in 10 years and expand the brand to overseas markets in three years, Yang said.
Wowprime posted NT$7.01 billion in consolidated sales for the first five months of the year, up 21.42 percent from the same period last year, the group said in a statement.
Wowprime shares stayed unchaged at NT$446 in Taipei trading yesterday.
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