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Southeast Asia Market Remains Ripe for Hooters Expansion


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Inside Hooters' newest international location in Taipei Xinyi, Taiwan.

With the opening of its most recent international location in Taipei Xinyi, Taiwan, Hooters now has 28 restaurants in Southeast Asia, including others in Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Cambodia.

Franchisee Destination Eats, part of Bangkok-based Destination Resorts, is the local partner behind this market expansion and in 2015 signed a 35-location development agreement with Hooters. Led by CEO Gary Murray, Destination Eats also recently opened Hooters locations in Marina Bay and Fusionopolis, Singapore, as well as Jakarta, Indonesia, and Koh Samui, Thailand.

Earlier this year I talked with Hooters Chief Development Officer Mark Whittle about the company’s “renewed effort” of international development, which he said began about four years ago as the Florida-based franchisor took a more intentional approach to expanding outside the United States.

“We’re proactive and proactively setting up meetings with key players,” said Whittle, adding they’ve also been more selective about who they bring into the Hooters system. “It’s easy to say yes to everything, but the discipline comes in saying no.”

International partners must have a minimum net worth of $3 million, liquidity of $1.5 million and ability to develop at least three restaurants in the proposed territory.

Along with its hotels and resorts across Thailand, the Destination group owns and operates several other food and beverage brands under Destination Eats, including Hard Rock Cafe and the Drunken Leprechaun. The company is growing its food and beverage portfolio to include a soon-to-be announced pizza brand, an Italian casual dining brand and a high-end steak concept restaurant in Thailand and overseas.

The franchisee has plans to open additional Hooters locations this summer in Phnom Penh, Cambodia as well as multiple locations in Manila, the capital of the Philippines.

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Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is associate editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
 
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Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
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Nancy WeingartnerNancy Weingartner is editor-at-large of Franchise Times magazine and the editor of the Food On Demand media project. You can reach her at 612-767-3200 or at nancyw@franchisetimes.com.
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