Thursday, December 3, 2009

CJ Group announces BBGO, an international bibimbap restaurant chain

I expected CJ Group to act as a leader in the promotion of Korean cuisine overseas, why not by leveraging on such assets as Cafe Sobahn, a creative bibimbap concept (see "Korean food aiming at Top 5").

At last, they seem to be willing to deliver the goods : CJ Group announced the launch of a new bibimbap restaurant chain in the US (Los Angeles), China (Beijing and Shanghai), and Singapore. A meal would cost around USD 10, positioning the chain in the family restaurant bracket, but well above fast food restaurants.

Frankly, the brand comes as a disappointment : BBGO (pronounced bibigo) evoques cheap BBQ rather than quality bibimbap... Less fun than that BibimBar in NYC. Maybe BBGO is just the code name : .com URLs are taken for bbgo, bb-go, bibigo, and even bibimgo.

Anyway, that's a major improvement from CJ Freshway's "Welly&", unarguably the Ground Zero of branding. I hope the same will be said about the food and atmosphere : "BBGO" could become an interesting entry point to Korean food.

Bibimbap makes perfect sense : a typically Korean dish, sound food, infinite ways of combining flavors...

Furthermore, CJ starts with "friendly neighborhoods", which could help fine tune the concept before going truly global.

Wishing them the best,
Seoul Village 2009


ADDENDUM 20091207

Elsewhere on the value chain, Korea Agro-Fisheries Trade Corporation and NJ based Rhee Bros. Inc. signed a deal to allow more Korean "farm and processed food products to be sold throughout the United States" ("Korean food to reach more U.S. stores" - Yonhap 20091207).

ADDENDUM 20120731

bibigo(es) global and opens its first restaurant in London, near Oxford Circus.

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