Ex-CEO’s ‘secret sale’ of rice burger chain sparks dispute

By Catherine Chung
  • Published : Oct 3, 2018 - 18:03
  • Updated : Oct 3, 2018 - 18:03

Former Bongousse Rice Burger CEO Oh Seh-rin has sparked controversy after he reportedly sold the company to popular Korean fried chicken chain NeNe Chicken without giving prior notice to franchise owners.

NeNe Chicken recently acquired the burger franchise and replaced Oh with the current CEO Hyun Cheol-ho last month, a company official said Wednesday.

With less than $100, Oh reportedly started out as a street food vendor in front of Dongwon High School and Dongwoo Girls’ High School in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, in 2011. 


The fast-food eatery saw rapid growth and became popular with students for its reasonably priced rice burgers. After opening his first store in March 2012, Oh revealed in 2013 that the company’s annual revenue had reached $140 million. He continued to expand the business, which now has over 900 franchise restaurants across the country.

However, the businessman failed to open stores in China, which he had reportedly been planning, after being convicted of drug use in August last year. 
Oh Seh-rin apologizes to customers after being convicted of drug use. (Oh Seh-rin‘s Facebook)

The court found him guilty of using drugs at a hotel in Gangnam-gu, southern Seoul, on three separate occasions between May and August 2016. He was ordered to serve 18 months in jail, suspended for three years. The court also ordered him to undergo 40 hours of drug abuse treatment.

Franchise owners filed a class-action lawsuit against the former CEO with the Fair Trade Commission late last year. 

By Catherine Chung (