Wed, Oct 10, 2018 - Page 11 News List

Smith & Wollensky to open Taipei restaurant

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

US steakhouse Smith & Wollensky has announced plans to open its first licensed outlet in Asia in Taipei’s Xinyi District (信義) in December, attracted by Taiwanese diners’ passion for quality beef.

The steakhouse is known for being the go-to restaurant for Warren Buffet’s multimillion-dollar charity lunches and the favorite restaurant of a powerful editor in the 2006 film The Devil Wears Prada.

Annual steakhouse revenues in Taipei averaged NT$20 million to NT$30 million (US$645,828 to US$968,742) a decade ago, but have soared to about NT$200 million today, while the city’s population has held steady, Smith & Wollensky spokesman Ray Yen (顏宏叡) told a media briefing in Taipei on Friday last week.

The market has seen the entry of new players over the years, but Ambassador Hotel’s (國賓飯店) A Cut Steakhouse and Regent Taipei’s (晶華酒店) Robin’s Grill remain the largest brands and main competitors in Taipei, Yen said.

Smith & Wollensky’s 157-seat restaurant is to open on the 47th floor of Breeze Nan Shan Plaza (微風南山), Yen said.

The steakhouse intends to set its prices at about NT$3,500 per person and is looking to grow its revenue by 5 percent a year, Yen said.

Smith & Wollensky is to have its own dry-aging butchery and is to use certified USDA prime beef from trusted family farms, said chief executive Michael Feighery, who visited Taipei last week to make the announcement and gain better understanding of the local market.

The US steakhouse has decided to venture into the local market inspired by the strong demand for a fine dining experience in Taiwan, Feighery said.

Feighery said that he was impressed by local consumers’ love for high-quality beef, especially prime dry-aged steaks, one of Smith & Wollensky’s strengths.

The group is headquartered in Boston and operates eight restaurants in the US.

Its first restaurant outside the US opened in London in 2015.

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