Hospitality Business Magazine

South Korean fried chicken chain to open 18 stores in New Zealand

A multi-million dollar launch of a rapidly growing global food chain is set to create hundreds of new jobs around New Zealand over the coming five years.

New Zealand is to become the 10th country to see the opening of one of South Korea’s fastest growing restaurants with the establishment of its first outlet in Auckland on September 7. 

Popular South Korean fried chicken chain NeNe Chicken has more than 1,100 stores worldwide, including the USA, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and Malaysia. 

Local plans are underway to invest over $15 million in the opening of 18 stores throughout the country. The brand is expected to employ 275 workers and generate $75 million in annual revenue by 2028.

Marcus Teh, general manager for NeNe Chicken, says as well as a win for those in the hospitality industry there will be a significant investment in local suppliers. 

“We operate 40 franchised and company-owned stores in Australia already and serve more than 5,000 meals every single day across the ditch, and we expect this unique concept to be just as well received here in New Zealand.

“We will be sourcing base ingredients and all fresh products within New Zealand – including 120 tonnes of chicken annually,” he says. 

ST Group holds the exclusive franchise and license rights to NeNe Chicken along with three other internationally popular food and beverage brands, PappaRich, Gong cha and Ippudo in New Zealand.

Teh says the company’s first location in Auckland’s Queen Street was selected to cater to the large population of urban dwellers, office workers, students and tourists. 

He says ST Group has bounced back from the impact of the pandemic and expects to see significant growth across its hospitality portfolio this year. 

“The easing of border restrictions and resumption of international travel towards the end of last year has lifted business sentiment and begun to revitalise the food and beverage sector. 

“New Zealanders are known to be curious and open to trying new food experiences. As a result, there is a market for innovative and unique food brands that offer something different from traditional Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) businesses. 

“This is coupled with the influence of social media platforms, food blogs and online food communities that are playing a significant role in driving food trends and creating awareness of emerging brands,” he says.