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Japanese restaurant chain Sukiya begins trial run in Taiwan

TAIPEI--The first outlet in Taiwan of Japanese restaurant chain Sukiya began a four-day trial run Thursday, attracting enthusiastic fans who lined up for its famous curry and beef bowls.

Many of the first customers stayed in line near the Guting Station on the Taipei metro an hour ahead of its opening at 9 a.m.

“It tastes the same as what I had in Japan,” said Charles Chang, who ordered a gyudon after waiting in line for some 40 minutes. “Very well-seasoned. Just the way I like it.”

An official opening is set for July 10, after which it will be open for business 24 hours a day.

Zensho Taiwan Co., the local branch of Japan's largest operator of restaurant chains, Zensho Holdings Co., reportedly has a goal of opening 20 Sukiya restaurants in the Greater Taipei area in the next 2-3 years in the run up to its goal of operating 100 stores.

Hiroshi Nishikawa, managing director of Zensho Taiwan, said he hopes to open a Sukiya at every metro station in the Greater Taipei area, a target he hopes to achieve “as soon as possible.”

Describing Taiwan as a “highly competitive yet important” fast food market, Nishikawa told CNA that the Taiwanese market is part of the Japanese group's international expansion plan.

“After developing presence in Mexico, Malaysia, China, Brazil and Thailand, we aim to open outlets in over 200 countries in the future,” he said.

As for the Taiwan market, Nishikawa also expressed confidence, saying that he aims to duplicate the chain's success in Japan and become the island's No. 1 donburi, or rice bowl dish, brand.

Sukiya's main competition in the Taiwan market will be Japanese chain Yosihnoya, which with over 40 stores across Taiwan is the major donburi restaurant in the country.

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Locals line up at Japanese restaurant Sukiya in Taipei, yesterday. Sukiya, which specializes in gyudon (beef bowl), is opening its first store in a commercial district near the Guting MRT Station. The restaurant is launching a low-priced strategy, and each gyudon sells for just NT$69.

(CNA)

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