Japan's Kobe restaurant forays into Bangladesh

Japan's Kobe restaurant forays into Bangladesh

Japanese company Shishikura Ltd. is set to open a restaurant in Dhaka with its speciality, Kobe beef, on December 15, a top official said.

Called Kobe Steak and Seafood, the restaurant will be located in Banani, Dhaka, said Koki Mizutani, managing director of Leo Global Ltd., a locally formed company that will run the business here.

Bangladesh is the first country where Shishikura is opening a branch outside Japan, Mizutani told The Daily Star on Tuesday.

Shishikura is a 230-year-old family business operating in restaurants, convenient retail stores and superstores in Japan.

After conducting a feasibility study for two years, the company found that Bangladesh is a potential investment destination to open the restaurant.

Leo Global invested Tk 2 crore (US$ 20 million) in Dhaka, with the Japanese partner holding 80 per cent of the stake and the Bangladeshi partner 20 per cent, Mizutani said.

Leo Global will import the expensive variety of beef from Japan for Bangladeshi customers, while the restaurant will also serve seafood. Kobe beef refers to cuts of beef from the Tajima strain of wagyu cattle, raised in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan.

If the first venture does well, the company plans to open two more restaurants in Dhaka in the next two years.

The target customers in Bangladesh are the upper middle-class and upper class, with the prices of the dishes ranging between 500 - 2,000 taka, said Tareq Rafi Bhuiyan, a director of Leo Global.

Bhuiyan, a Bangladeshi-Japanese, said the company also plans to invest in the bakery and convenient store business. "We are in the food business to serve healthy food items to people," he said, adding that Kobe Steak and Seafood will serve several salad dishes on a 19 feet-long salad bar.

Two cooks from Japan will work here with eight other Bangladeshi employees in the restaurant.

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