If there is one industry that accommodates franchises like no other, the eating-out arena can stake a fair claim. Firstly, it continues to be a lucrative and popular market; recession or no recession. Equally, there is probably something to be said for the lure of owning a restaurant. However, the vast majority of growth is currently being seen most in the fast-food domain. There is yet to be any significant movement in the traditional restaurant sector when it comes to franchising, nor has there been much differentiation in the types of cuisine on offer.
This, though, is where Pan Chai comes in.
For starters, the luxury pan-Asian restaurant concept can boast having a flagship outlet in the Harrods Food Hall. Needless to say, such a positioning has put the brand in fairly good stead as it sets foot on its franchising journey, with five new sites planned before the end of this year. “For us, when we are creating a brand for the restaurant sector, being in the Harrods food halls is almost like the window to the world,” says Andrew Lloyd, director at Pan Chai. “It gives us so much exposure and it puts you on such a high platform to launch a product. It was the perfect route for us and we have learned a lot of stuff from the way that Harrods works and the types of standards they expect.”
Of course, it is reasonable enough to ask how one goes about securing a place in the Harrods Food Hall. Well, the stature and reputation that Pan Chai owner and restaurateur Eddie Lim brought to the table had some part to play. Lim already has the likes of Awana and Singapore Garden under his belt. That’s not to mention Mango Tree, the much-lauded Thai restaurant in Belgravia which has sites worldwide and now shares the floor space with Pan Chai in Harrods.