Malaysian restaurant chain Prime Roaster to expand to 30 outlets across five cities

Malaysian restaurant chain Prime Roaster to expand to 30 outlets across five cities

Author | Gokul Krishnamurthy | Wednesday, Mar 01,2006 8:10 AM

Malaysian restaurant chain Prime Roaster to expand to 30 outlets across five cities

The international chain of restaurants that caused quite a few raised eyebrows and several protests on its advertising campaign during its Chennai launch, Prime Roaster, is looking to expand to cover Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore soon. The chain will set up a total of 30 outlets in India by 2008, and is presently preparing for a re-launch, one that has been postponed due to the prevailing ‘bird flu’ phobia.

Established in India in mid-2003, the chain of Malaysian origin has expanded to three outlets in Chennai and is eyeing further expansion. A re-launch is on the cards, moving from the fast food platform to that of a quick service restaurant. Accompanying the re-launch will be a full-fledged campaign, which will be ‘sizeable’, according to Patrick Abdullah, COO, International Division, Prime Roaster.

“There will be a campaign to communicate a number of new products, and a new positioning. As we expand, the campaign and positioning will also be carried forward to more cities. The entire restaurant will be revamped, and for expansion, we will be taking the franchisee route,” said Abdullah.

He explained that there had been a number of franchisee enquiries from other parts of the country since 2003, and the company was ready for it now. However, the ‘bird flu’ fear has been a dampener, delaying the re-launch by almost a month.

“The campaign was supposed to kick off from March 1. We thought it would have added fuel to the fire, and thought it better to launch the campaign once the fears were over. But, I believe that the government is doing a good job to allay fears, and we are very confident that it will get out from the peoples’ minds very soon. We are looking at March 21 now to get on with the re-launch,” added Abdullah.

Admittedly, this round of bird flu has had more impact. Sales had been hit by 60-70 per cent at Prime Roaster in India, and is now ‘slowly coming back to normal’. The spokesperson explained that he had had talks with supplier brand representatives, including Venky’s and Godrej, and was confident that things would return to normal in a month. The signs of a turnaround had been evident this week, said Abdullah.

The launch campaign of the brand in India by Chennai-based shop WOC had created quite an impact. Beginning with a teaser campaign with copy reading ‘Breasts you’ll die for’ and ‘Thunder Thighs’ (a reference to breast and leg portions of chicken), the campaign ruffled a few feathers and women’s organisations raised their voices in protest. We wonder what route the re-launch and expansion campaigns will adopt.

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