Bistro Group to open more foreign restaurants in PHL

THE Bistro Group is expanding its chain of restaurants in the country with the addition of a new international hospitality casual-dining brand by the end of the year.

Lisa Ronquillo, assistant vice president for marketing, told the BusinessMirror that they are franchising two new popular bistros as part of their expansion plan.

While she did not provide more details, Ronquillo said the company will open a steak restaurant from the US by December.

“We’re bringing in some new American brands. Though we’re not yet at the liberty to disclose now, but we’re opening Texas Roadhouse later this year,” she said, without citing further details on its location and their investment.

Without any delay, she added that the next brand to be franchised, which is yet to be identified, will follow “probably next year.”

Based in Louisville, Kentucky, Texas Roadhouse opened its doors in 1993, with its first restaurant in nearby Clarksville, Indiana.

Today, it has a network of over 450 locations in 49 states and four foreign countries.

It is famous for its hand-cut steaks and fall-off-the-bone ribs, as well as several chicken and seafood selections included in the menu.

As part of the group’s plan, Ronquillo said the company is also expanding its existing brands.

Buffalo Wild Wings (BWW), for instance, is its newest franchised US-grown casual-dining brand, which is expanding its footprint in the Philippines on the back of the growing restaurant scene and big potential market here.

Following the January 2015 opening of its pioneering outlet at Estancia Mall, Capitol Commons in Pasig City, the chicken joint is setting up shops at the Glorietta Mall in Makati City next month and at Uptown Mall in Taguig by November, according to BWW President and CEO Sally J. Smith.

Smith said two more branches will be built at SM Mall of Asia in Pasay and yet to be announced site, either within or outside of Metro Manila.

For each store, the estimated investment is between $700,000 and $1 million.

“In two years, five branches will open in the Philippines,” she said, adding that the Philippines is their first location in Asia.

Compared to the US with a population density of 40,000 to 50,000, the Philippines has around 400,000 to 500,000 people per unit area, Smith said.

She added that the country has great dining operators like the Bistro Group that could contribute to their company’s growth.

To date, the Bistro Group has 12 global casual-dining brands in its portfolio.

“[The business is doing] very good that’s why we’re expanding side by side—new brands and existing brands. We have two more [international brands] coming very soon, and then the rest, we are still working on,” Ronquillo said.



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Roderick L. Abad graduated from Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, with a degree course in Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication. He has 12 years of journalism experience, starting as a Special Features Writer in a major daily newspaper. In 2006, he moved to the BusinessMirror in the same capacity and, eventually, became a beat reporter. To his credit, he was a finalist in the 2011 Holcim Journalism Awards for Sustainable Construction and the 2013 Lasallian Scholarum Awards. He remains affiliated with the BusinessMirror as a contributor.