EXCLUSIVE: Din Tai Fung on why now is the right time to enter the UK market
Learn more about their upcoming London debut and whether their menu will change for the UK market.
Last June, Taiwanese restaurant chain Din Tai Fung announced that they will be having their London debut in Covent Garden at the fourth quarter of 2018 with another site coming up in early 2019 at Centre Point.
This will be the brand’s first foray into Europe, and is spearheaded by Singapore-based BreadTalk Group Limited’s indirect wholly-owned subsidiary, Taster Food UK Limited, entering into a franchise agreement with Taiwanese and UK partners.
QSR Media talked to Xue Feng, UK director of Din Tai Fung, who talked about their upcoming debut, their take on expanding, and how they are different from other Asian brands.
QSR Media: The opening has been long mooted - why has it taken this length of time to be formally announced?
We simply wanted to make the announcement as close to the opening dates as possible, as we don’t want our guests to have to wait a long time for their first visits.
QSR Media: Why does Din Tai Fung believe now is a good time to enter the UK market?
When it comes to food, the world market has changed a lot in the last couple of decades. Nowadays people travel a lot and are increasingly interested in experiencing local cuisines from all over the world during these trips. When back home, they crave those newly discovered authentic, bold flavours.
Din Tai Fung is very fortunate to have become a food must-try destination across Asia; we get to cater for numerous travellers, many of which have for a long time been asking us to come to the UK and Europe.
QSR Media: How many sites do they expect to open in the UK and over what time frame?
Our growth strategy is simple, organic and it puts customer requirements at the centre of everything. Our expansion plans are not about target numbers in specific time frames, but the contrary. We simply want to open great restaurants in the right locations at the right time. Only in places where we believe our food will be truly appreciated.
QSR Media: What are the plans for non-London locations?
We are focusing in London at the moment.
QSR Media: Are there any differences to the typical menu to cater to U.K. tastes?
Our UK menu is not a compromised version for the local market. We are bringing our authentic Taiwanese dishes and flavours as we believe that London being a foodie capital of the world wouldn’t accept any less than that.
QSR Media: What do Din Tai Fung believe they do differently to their competitors?
Din Tai Fung started as a small family business. Although it has grown significantly in recent years, a big part of its success comes from keeping the same principles and passion that the founding Yang family always had for remarkable service and the highest food quality. Their original recipes have been followed and perfected for almost 50 years, and still require incredible precision and technique in the making.
From the very beginning, the Yang family were adamant about the highest quality standards at every stage of the food preparation to ensure consistency in every single dish. Finally, their original flavours can only be achieved by using the best ingredients. Some key ingredients such as flour, rice and sauces are specially grown or produced specifically for Din Tai Fung and brought from Taiwan to ensure consistent taste.