Pepper Lunch plans to open 2 more branches in Cebu by next year: official

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Thursday, July 24, 2014


PEPPER Up Cebu Inc., the Cebu-franchisee of “fast steak” restaurant concept Pepper Lunch, is opening two more branches in Cebu next year.

This was announced by Chef Jeroen van Straten, managing director of Benmark Group Holdings Inc., the master franchise holder of Pepper Lunch in the Philippines.

Van Straten said they decided to expand in Cebu because of the positive market feedback of Cebuanos and the promising growth of the province’s economy.

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The upcoming branches will be located in two new malls in Cebu.

Pepper Lunch in Ayala Center Cebu is the first branch in the Visayas. Van Straten said it took them some time to expand in Cebu because they were looking for the right partnership and the right location.

“We are keen on picking the right partners for this venture and we want someone who really knows the market,” said Van Straten.

Pepper Up is a homegrown firm led by Allen Arvin Tan, whose family is also franchisee for Shakey’s, Chowking, Happy Lemon and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.

Established in Japan in 1994, Pepper Lunch is a do-it-yourself fast-service concept created by Japanese chef and inventor Mr. Kunio Ichinose, with the aim “to serve quality, fast food without the need for a trained chef.”

At Pepper Lunch, diners get to cook their own food over a patented electromagnetic plate that is heated up to 260 degrees Celsius within one minute.

Customers get to select cuts of beef, chicken, pork and salmon that are served with rice and vegetables which they can cook and season using flavors of teriyaki, onion sauce, honey brown sauce (Amakuchi) or garlic soy sauce (Karakuchi) and freshly ground pepper.

The branch was brought to the Philippines in 2008. It now has 23 stores nationwide and over 200 outlets in Japan and all over Asia, including China, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand.

The firm opened eight branches in the country last year.

Van Straten said he has “high hopes” to grow the brand in Cebu given its improved business activity and improved purchasing power. He said Cebuanos are now open-minded to try out new restaurant concepts.

“Since our entry here we drew high traffic from young to old customers,” he said. Prices at Pepper Lunch range from P198-P635.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 25, 2014.

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