Sat, Jan 13, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Wowprime unveils spicy hot pot brand

By Kuo Chia-erh  /  Staff reporter

Restaurant chain operator Wowprime Corp (王品) yesterday unveiled a new spicy hot pot brand, aiming to seize opportunities in the nation’s NT$5 billion (US$169.92 million) hot pot market.

Chin Huajiao (青花驕), the company’s 18th brand in Taiwan, plans to serve spicy hot pot featuring tongue-numbing flavors and peppers directly imported from Chongqing, China.

“We think the growth momentum of the whole hot pot market has not yet peaked [despite intensifying competition in Taiwan],” a Wowprime official said at a media gathering in Taipei.

The company plans to open three or four Chin Huajiao outlets in Taiwan this year after spending nearly NT$25 million on its first new store located on Taipei’s Zhongshan N Road.

Customers are expected to spend about NT$650 per person at Chin Huajiao, higher than average purchases at the group’s other two hot pot chains, 12 Sabu (石二鍋) and Hokkaido Konbu Hot Pot (聚北海道昆布鍋), Wowprime said.

Same-store sales of the new brand are likely to reach between NT$8 million and NT$10 million per month, the company said.

Wowprime, which follows a multi-brand strategy to maintain its long-term profitability, plans to launch a Japanese Izakaya brand in the Chinese market by the end of this month, as well as two additional new brands in Taiwan and one in China in the second half of this year, the company said, without elaborating on this year’s outlet expansion plan or capital budget.

Wowprime on Wednesday posted an annual decrease in cumulative revenue of 1.79 percent for last year, as slower sales dragged down profit in the domestic market, a company statement said.

Revenue decreased from NT$16.11 billion in 2016 to NT$15.82 billion last year, with Taiwan operations falling 4.08 percent to NT$8.96 billion and China sales increasing 1.36 percent to NT$6.86 billion, the company said.

However, Wowprime saw sales increase 1.47 percent year-on-year to NT$3.85 billion in the fourth quarter, ending five consecutive quarters of decline, it said.

The company attributed the improvement to a restructuring plan that aims to tap into the emerging casual dining market by launching mid-priced brands, such as CooK BEEF (酷必), Ma Lao Da (麻佬大) and Zha Beef (乍牛).

Taichung-headquartered Wowprime, which runs a total of 21 brands, operates 266 outlets in Taiwan and 150 in China, company data showed.

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