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5 ways to localize a foreign restaurant concept

Tips from the Philippine franchisee of Pepper Lunch
By Carlo P. Mallo |
5 ways to localize a foreign restaurant concept

By now, everyone must be familiar with the Japanese restaurant that introduced pepper rice into the consciousness of the ordinary Filipino and even launched the concept of cooking for kids with its patented iron plates.

Brought to the Philippines by Jeroen van Straten and his wife, renowned blogger of Chuvaness.com or Cecile van Straten in real life, Pepper Lunch changed the way Filipinos ate Japanese food.

From spreading its enticing aroma in the halls of Powerplant Mall in Rockwell, Greenbelt 5 in the Ayala Center, Shangri-la Mall in Ortigas and at the Alabang Town Center, Pepper Lunch is bringing itself closer to more Filipinos as it opens new restaurants in Robinsons Ermita, SM Megamall, Mall of Asia and SM North EDSA.

Started only in 2006, Pepper Lunch is doubling its number of stores this year in Metro Manila. Entrepreneur.com.ph asked Pepper Lunch franchisee Jeroen van Straten for tips on how to make a foreign restaurant concept succeed in the Philippine market.

1.    Offer rice-based meals
Having a rice-based menu is one of the major draws of Pepper Lunch. “Every Filipino eats rice and it’s what we offer in our menu,” says van Straten.

2.    Present fun dining interiors
Unlike other Japanese restaurants in Metro Manila that have a very serious old Japan design or a very modern one, Pepper Lunch offers bright and fun interiors that does not intimidate anyone. “Pepper Lunch is about fun Japanese dining,” says van Straten.

3.    Make meals affordable
“One thing about Pepper Lunch is that we offer reasonable and affordable prices," says van Straten.

4.    Don't forget the beef and chicken
Filipinos love beef and chicken so what better way of opening a restaurant that serves these in a whole new way?

5.    Deliver a new experience
At Pepper Lunch, diners get to cook their own meals on patented iron plates that come from Japan. Cook your steak, burger patties, beef strips and chicken the way you like it. “It’s the experience that sets us apart. It’s not just a meal on a sizzling plate, its more than that,” says van Straten.

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