Published : 2013-10-22 19:56
Updated : 2013-10-23 15:45
|The sign for Bibigo’s London outlet|
CJ Foodville, the operator of Bibigo, a popular restaurant chain specializing in bibimbap, has drastically changed the strategy for its London outlet, company officials said.
“We had originally entered the market with the concept of fine dining, but we decided this is not going to work,” a high-ranking CJ official told The Korea Herald.
Previously, Bibigo had mainly offered fusion Korean cuisine, but it has now moved onto more conventional and traditional dishes.
CJ Foodville's public relations team explained that the decision stemmed from the growing number of customers who wanted to taste authentic Korean dishes.
Bibigo London is CJ's first European outlet that opened in July last year.
Under the name Bibigo Bar and Dining, the restaurant serves dishes priced from 8 pounds to 16 pounds ($13-$26), while lunch specials go for around 9 pounds. The prices are about double those at fast-food stores in London.
But now, a wider variety of appetizers is available for cheaper prices. The restaurant was also redecorated to take on a more casual look.
Food critics online had said that while Bibigo offers a great dining experience, the food was overpriced, which CJ apparently took into consideration.
“It seems like CJ may have gone a bit overboard due to its success and put unrealistically high prices on some of the dishes," said one watcher who declined to be identified.
Nevertheless, Bibigo this year entered the list of the prestigious Michelin Guide.
CJ Foodville is a part of CJ group, the nation’s No. 1 food company. It operates Bibigo restaurants both at home and abroad, with overseas stores located in key areas in the U.S., U.K. and Asia, including in China, Indonesia and Singapore.
By focusing on bibimbap, a traditional dish consisting of rice and various condiments and vegetables, CJ has made an international name for itself with Bibigo.
Industry watchers say that the hallyu wave also gave Bibigo a leg-up.
By Kim Ji-hyun and Lee Ji-yoon