After opening its first franchised outlet of US-based Magnolia Bakery in Japan last month, Evolution Capital - the franchisee of Magnolia in Asia - plans an aggressive expansion of the bakery shops throughout the region.
Evolution Capital, a Thai-listed company, is a founding shareholder of Magnolia Bakery’s Japanese franchisee, Sweetstar, which opened the Magnolia Bakery in Japan on June 16, at the Gyre Building in the heart of Tokyo’s trendy Omotesando area.
The company plans to open Magnolia franchised outlets in Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Thailand within the next three to five years, said Simon Gerovich, director of Evolution Capital and responsible for directing the operations of Sweetstar.
“After opening Magnolia Bakery’s first Japanese outlet just one month ago, it is clear that Tokyo is ready for further stores, and we aim therefore to selectively add one outlet, as well as our first kiosk within a leading department store, within the next six months.
“The classic American bakery concept resonates strongly with the Japanese consumer, as proven by the daily queues at our first outlet in Omotesando,” he said.
Gerovich said the company had set its five-year plan to have between eight and 10 full bakery restaurants in Japan alone.
Evolution Capital owns a 35-per-cent stake in Q’s Dining, which operates 18 restaurant brands in Japan, including Magnolia. The Magnolia outlet is operated by Q’s Dining subsidiary Sweetstar.
Magnolia Bakery was established in 1996 in the United States and now has 14 stores around the world, half of which are in the US. Besides Japan, there are international store locations in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Beirut and Doha.
The bakery-house brand also plans to open new stores in Moscow, Mexico City, Sao Paolo and London.
In addition to Magnolia, Evolution Capital operates many restaurant brands in Thailand, including Domino’s Pizza, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Kyochon, Fat Gut’z, Fat’r Gut’z, Clouds, Bangkok Betty, Maggie Choo’s, and Mr Jones’ Orphanage.
Sanjay Singh, chief executive of Evolution Capital’s food business group, said: “The company is very proud to be associated with this leading American brand, and the success of the first store’s opening [in Japan] validates the company’s strategy to strategically invest across Asia in a number of consumer-driven businesses.
“Further, the company is pleased to be positioned as a beneficiary of Japan’s strong demand upswing.”
In Thailand, he said, Evolution Capital is expecting to grow its food business by 5-7 per cent this year.
It plans to increase the number of Domino’s Pizza restaurants from 11 to 22 locations by the end of the year; Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf from 17 to 25; Kyochon from three to between 10 and 12; and Mr Jones’ Orphanage from two to eight locations.
Altogether, Evolution Capital operates 41 restaurant outlets in the Kingdom, and expects to increase the number to about 67 outlets by the end of this year.
Steve Abrams, Magnolia Bakery’s CEO, said: “We were delighted to welcome the Tokyo outlet as Magnolia Bakery’s seventh international store, and our 14th overall. We look forward to harnessing the terrific reception for our first Japan opening for further store openings in the coming months.”
After the enthusiastic reception greeting Magnolia Bakery’s first outlet in Tokyo, expansion plans include adding another location and one kiosk each year, in addition to “pop-up” booths for exhibition and events, he said.