Gourmet Master opens first hot pot restaurant

TOP OF THE POTS::The food and beverage firm named its venture Top One Pot, hoping the chain will emulate the huge success of its 85°C bakery franchise

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Nov 06, 2012 - Page 13

Gourmet Master Co Ltd (美食達人), which operates two bakery and coffee brands — including the popular 85°C (85度C) chain — in Taiwan, yesterday spent NT$50 million (US$1.7 million) introducing its first hot pot chain restaurant in Taipei, marking its official entrance into the Chinese food market.

The company is scheduled to launch another three outlets of its hot pot franchise, Top One Pot (這一鍋), in Taiwan by the end of next year, and plans to expand the brand to China by launching its first outlet in Shanghai in the fourth quarter of next year, a company official said.

“We hope to duplicate the success of 85°C with our new hot pot restaurant. We will conduct our research and development operations in Taiwan and then expand the brand across the Greater China area,” Gourmet Master management division head David Chiu (邱志宏) told a media briefing.

Chiu said the company is set to open a total of 20 hot pot outlets in Taiwan over five years, with a single outlet expected to generate NT$100 million in revenue each year.

For the first year of operation, revenue from Top One Pot will be consolidated into Gourmet Master sales, Chiu said, adding that the company has been also considering issuing an initial public offering for Top One Pot in the future.

Meanwhile, Top One Pot president Li Ya-ching (李雅清) said the company will continue its pace of brand expansion in the future by aiming to launch one new brand every year. The firm already has plans to introduce bakery brand Better Simple (麵包同話) later this year.

For next year, Gourmet Master may launch a low-priced steak house, which would become the company’s fourth food-and-beverage brand, Li added.

Gourmet Master reported NT$837.95 million, or NT$5.75 per share, in net earnings for the first three quarters of the year, up 5.4 percent from a year ago, the company said in its stock exchange filing.