Genesis BBQ is one of Korea’s leading culinary franchises spreading Korea’s culinary businesses and propagating Korean food culture around the globe. Genesis BBQ has, so far, signed Master Franchise agreements with local leading companies in 57 different countries including the United States, China, Vietnam, and Brazil. As of today, Genesis BBQ has opened 500 locations in 30 countries.
From operating in foreign countries for a fair amount time, GenesisBBQ has gained valuable business expertise and that the company would like to share with Business Korea readers.
For its global business strategy, Genesis BBQ adopts a Master Franchise model for effective localization. A Master Franchise model is one international franchise arrangement where the franchiser enters into a partnership with a competent local business partner familiar with the local business environment. Under the Master Franchise arrangement, Genesis BBQ grants the local partner exclusive rights to use its trademark, and the company transfers Genesis BBQ business expertise to the partner. However, sometimes, under exceptional circumstances, Genesis BBQ opts for direct franchising and sets up its own flagship store.
In China's case, Genesis BBQ entered the market in 2003. Since then, the has strived to develop a new menu, and operated based on strategic marketing with a goal of establishing itself as a top restaurant in the Chinese food service market.
One of the marketing strategies that Genesis BBQ pursues in the Chinese market is to differentiate it from others by providing high-quality services. With explosive economic growth, the number of Chinese consumers who seek a higher standard of living is continuously on the rise. In line with such a trend, Genesis BBQ launched BBQ premium cafes that use healthy ingredients, such as 100 percent extra virgin oil. In addition, given the absence of delivery food service culture, Genesis BBQ and the ubiquity of the scene of family dining out together in China, Genesis BBQ adopted a new business concept as a family restaurant. The company also added new varieties to its existing menu to accommodate family guests. Thanks to such localization efforts, the company increased its turnover by 300 percent last year.
For another effective marketing strategy, BBQ chose to utilize popular Chinese messaging services such as Weibo and Weixin. A majority of Chinese communicate through these services. For this reason, BBQ set up a local team specializing in so-called viral marketing, with a focus on Weibo and Weixin, to raise public awareness of the Genesis BBQ brand. The team also propagates its menus and the company’s strengths. As a result, the brand has gained high public recognition and is now ranked among the top restaurants as the most-searched-for restaurant on the Chinese Internet.
Genesis BBQ proves that it is one of the Korean culinary franchises that has most benefitted from the popularity of Hallyu in China. For instance, the famous line by Korean actress Jeon Ji-hyun, “When it is snowing, drinking beer with chicken is most proper” stroke a responsive chord with Chinese young people to the extent that they have adopted that aspect of Korean food culture. In 2014, the popularity of the Korean soap opera “My Love from the Stars” swept across Chinese screens, and so did the popularity of Genesis BBQ. In particular, it turns out that Chinese locals enjoy chicken in a luxurious atmosphere. For such a reason, one can easily spot people standing in a long line for 30 minutes or more to enter the BBQ premium café at Shanghai Expo, or in Daehakro.