Bullish In 2022: The Bistro Group embarks on major expansions
INQUIRER.net BrandRoom / 05:53 PM March 30, 2022
MANILA, Philippines – As the world recovers from the pandemic, most businesses are being bullish in post-pandemic Philippines.
The Bistro Group shares this sentiment. We are targeting 30 openings in 2022 with a mix of international brands, upscale chef-driven concepts, and expansion of existing brands,” said Paul Manuud, President of The Bistro Group. To date, the company has 18 local and foreign restaurant brands with over 100 branches nationwide tucked under its belt.
“We’ve gathered invaluable lessons during the pandemic, pivoting to new strategies to adapt to the situation,” Manuud shared. For example, they strengthened their delivery scheme with their own Bistro Delivers app and website. On the ground, they implemented stricter guidelines for safe dine-in experience. While there were hard decisions that had to be made as well, the company thanks its “star players”—the waitstaff, crew, bartenders, kitchen staff and management team–for remaining efficient despite the restructuring.
“We have managed to stay afloat and keep our heads above the water. Now, that the economy is opening up and restrictions are being eased, our employees are back to work in high spirits. We are in the process of getting more people to join us as we have more confidence in operating and navigating our brands forward. I’m happy to announce that we’re back!” Manuud enthused.
Enter: International Restaurant Concepts
And back they are, indeed!
For one, opening this April is LA’s iconic donut brand, Randy’s, at the Uptown Parade in BGC. It will be followed by branches at the Mall of Asia and Robinsons Magnolia. These much-awaited openings will have donut lovers itching to have a taste of Randy’s donuts–an experience Filipino would have only been able to realize on a trip to the US. “We had been in talks with Randy’s Donuts pre-pandemic. Its launch was postponed for obvious reasons. Our LA-trained staff are now training our local crew, ready to serve the public soon,” Manuud said.
Another international brand that is in the offing is Olive Garden, a popular restaurant chain in the US serving Italian-inspired dishes with over 800 stores worldwide. It will be launched first at the Mall of Asia, and then later in Makati. Manuud and Brad Smith, Olive Garden’s Senior Vice-President for Franchising of Darden International, had signed the deal in 2019.
Still another international concept to be opened this year is Fogo de Chao, a Brazilian Steakhouse or Churrascaria.
Manuud likewise shared that plans are afoot for the expansion of Bistro’s existing brands, including Las Flores at Filinvest Mall and in two other branches; Italianni’s, which just opened its 18th store at Robinsons Magnolia plus one more upcoming opening in the south; Denny’s at MOA; Modern Shanghai and Watami in three and four additional locations, respectively; TGIFridays at Filinvest Mall and another one in the north; Fish & Co. at UPTC and in Makati; and Texas Roadhouse which will launch two new branches.
The opening of a new local concept, Rumba, a Mediterranean Spanish restaurant, is also in the pipeline within the year. Its menu was created by Chef Alfredo Rodriguez.
Highly-specialized and unique concept by Chef Josh Boutwood
The Bistro Group also proudly supports award-winning creative corporate executive, Josh Boutwood. A maverick in the kitchen, Boutwood is the man behind Savage, Helm and The Test Kitchen. This May, his new concept called Ember, will open in Greenbelt 3. A sophisticated and chic evolution of Savage with high emphasis on amazing ingredients and a more delicate cooking method, Ember cooks with what is left glowing from the flame, hence the name.
Reset. Recover. Restrengthen
“The situation now is significantly different from last year’s when we felt the gloom of the pandemic hovering over us,” Manuud said. As businesses shift from response to recovery, The Bistro Group remains steadfast for a bright future for the restaurant industry. “We have not totally changed our expansion plans to bring in more concepts, we just delayed them when the pandemic hit the world. All these openings, of course, still depend on the constantly evolving crisis situation, restrictions and other unforeseen factors that might impact the economy. But we are hopeful that the present scenario of optimism will prevail.”