Mom’s Touch, a Korean fried chicken restaurant chain, is expanding into America by announcing the third location in Southern California this quarter. One of the company’s two existing locations opened last summer, while the other opened in December.
According to Andrew Kim, CEO and president of WaBa Grill and Mom’s Touch in the United States, the brand is conceptually distinct from what the United States currently has. They do not have a concept that incorporates all three of their most popular menu items [wings, tenders, and fried chicken sandwiches] into a single location, with different sauces that are more on the spicy side with a little bite.
When the fast-casual chain opened in Korea for the first time in 1997, the fried chicken sandwich was a novel food item for the Asian market. Kim adds that it began to catch on with younger generations [who] sought out unique, exciting, and bold flavors. And the momentum continued to build, and they were able to pursue market leaders in Korea’s fast-casual and fast-food restaurant sectors.
WaBa Grill is a “master franchisee” of Mom’s Touch, effectively making it the parent company in the United States as it expands. However, the food appeals to a similar demographic, which Kim believes gives Mom’s Touch an advantage as it expands across the country.
Kim appears to be confident in the brand’s large Korean American community. They already have willing customers from diverse communities who would benefit from Mom’s Touch.
The first California location opened last summer in Gardena. The chain’s second location recently opened in Long Beach. The chain’s third location, which will triple the chain’s initial footprint, is scheduled to open in the City of Industry in the first quarter of this year, barring any staffing or permitting issues. While the chain has encountered some of the industry’s recent staffing challenges, interest from franchisees has not waned.
Korean restaurant chain Mom’s Touch intends to expand much more quickly than WaBa Grill did in California. Kim, who has decades of experience in the restaurant industry and over 200 restaurants under his belt, is ready to expand Mom’s Touch now that the company has a customer base and a franchise base. Given Mom’s Touch’s reputation and success in Asia, it is incumbent on the brand to seize the opportunity.
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