Japan's Kintetsu group opens 1st overseas restaurant in Taiwan

18, Apr. 2019

A chef broils eel fillet at Edogawa eel barbecue restaurant in Taipei at a media event on April 15, 2019, prior to its opening two days later. The joint eatery with a local partner is the first overseas dining outlet for the Japanese Kintetsu group of railway, property and travel service companies. (NNA/Kyodo)
A chef broils eel fillet at Edogawa eel barbecue restaurant in Taipei at a media event on April 15, 2019, prior to its opening two days later. The joint eatery with a local partner is the first overseas dining outlet for the Japanese Kintetsu group of railway, property and travel service companies. (NNA/Kyodo)

TAIPEI, NNA - Japanese railway group Kintetsu is entering the dining business overseas as part of its growth strategy, launching its first restaurant in Taiwan on Wednesday in a joint venture with a local partner.

The Edogawa eel barbecue restaurant with 72 seats opened in a central district of Taipei where seven other popular eel eateries are located. The key to success with Japanese culture-savvy locals will be to differentiate from competitors in taste and service, store manager Masashi Fukuoka told NNA.

Kintetsu Retail Holdings Co. formed Kintetsu Restaurant International Co. in Taipei in February jointly with Genya Co., a local food wholesaler, to run the restaurant. The new firm plans to open another store in Taichung and a third in Kaohsiung within this year.

The joint venture with a registered capital of 25 million New Taiwan dollars ($810,000) is owned 51 percent by the retail unit of the Osaka-based Kintetsu group and 49 percent by the local partner in Kaohsiung.

The Taipei outlet with four Japanese chefs serves a bowl of rice topped with broiled eel fillet for NT$250, a price similar to nearby rivals, with set meals starting at NT$400. It also offers alcoholic beverages.

It expects average spending per diner of NT$500 and 150 to 200 daily customers, Fukuoka said at a media event on Monday.

The Japanese firm chose Taiwan for its initial foothold abroad as it has been sourcing eels from Genya via a trader to supply 10 Edogawa outlets at home.

The planned restaurant in Taichung will open at the Tiger City shopping mall while the one in Kaohsiung will be a street-level store, according to Genzo Ishida, head of the joint venture.

The size of Taiwan's restaurant sector was estimated at NT$630 billion in 2017 and the number of Japanese restaurants at over 9,000 as of March last year, according to a 2018 report by the Japan External Trade Organization. (NNA/Kyodo)

The Edogawa eel barbecue restaurant opens in a central district of Taipei on April 17.
The Edogawa eel barbecue restaurant opens in a central district of Taipei on April 17.