Global market research firm Euromonitor International said on May 12 that the global Asian food dining market in South Korea grew from 48,882.9 billion won to over 50 trillion won in 2018 and reached 54,012 billion won last year.
Asian food is becoming more and more popular these days. In South Korea, no less than 16 malatang restaurant franchises started their business in 2019 and five in the first half of this year. Previously, Vietnamese rice noodle restaurants, Taiwanese sandwich shops, black sugar beverages, and the like made successful debuts in South Korea.
Spice and sauce imports related to Asian food are on the increase, too. According to the Korea Trade Statistics Promotion Institute, the weight of such spices and sauces imported from various Asian regions has shown an annual increase of about 20 percent for years. Consumers are buying more and more Vietnamese rice paper, sriracha, and so on and the sales of convenience food suppliers handling Asian food increased by more than 300 percent in 2018.
On the other hand, family restaurants and pizza shops are on the decline. Bennigans debuted in South Korea in 1995 and left the country in 2016 after a poor business performance. Marche and Sizzler did so in 2013 and Tony Roma's followed suit in 2014. Seven Springs also went out of business and Mr. Pizza recently posted an operating loss for the fifth consecutive year.
"Western food at home is now commonplace thanks to home meal replacements, but the HMR market is still small when it comes to Asian food,” said an industry source, adding, "This means Asian food restaurants’ competitiveness is still high.”