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Day brightens 'enterprise of happiness'

The China Post--“My vision is to give people running restaurants and mastering the culinary arts a higher social status,” said Steve Day (戴勝益), chairman of Wowprime Corp. (王品集團).

Wowprime is a renowned restaurant conglomerate in Taiwan, the recipient of countless awards in both Taiwan and China. Since becoming a listed company on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, Wowprime's share price once topped HTC Corp.'s (宏達電) to sit in the market's second-highest spot, something dubbed by investors as “a steak seller defeating a cell phone seller.”

“We bring people happiness, and by providing the best food and service for our clients we aim to make this profession a prestigious one,” the chairman said. “We are not just businesspeople who look for profits.”

“I was inspired by Stanley Yen (嚴長壽),” said Day. "As a hotel manager, Yen is one of the pioneers of valuing the idea of bringing happiness to his customers.” Because of his efforts, society has started to view people serving in restaurants and hotels differently and Day considers it is his mission to continue Yen's efforts.

Multi-brand Strategy

Not satisfied with owning one single restaurant brand, Wowprime offers its customers a diverse choice of dishes through its 11 restaurant franchises.

“I learned this strategy from Procter and Gamble,” said Day. “Take Sufood (舒果) for example. We started this brand when we found the demand for vegetarian food in Taiwan was not satisfied.” According to Day, the number of people who want to eat healthier in Taiwan is growing, and traditional vegetarian restaurants do not cater to their needs. “These restaurants provide vegetarian food with meat-like flavor, but this is not what a lot of people want,” the chairman said. Thus, Wowprime created Sufood to offer Italian-style vegetarian food in a high-end environment.

“We find a position in the market, create different and better products, and then stay focused to promote our new restaurant brands — that is our secret to running several restaurant brands,” Day stated.

Restaurants Provide a Cultural Experience

“Restaurants provide a cultural experience,” stated Day. Wowprime brought Western food culture to Taiwan, and Day has brought the food culture further to mainland China and overseas.

The chairman has chosen Southeast Asia as the first non-Chinese market to enter as he believes he can sell the firm's Western-style food culture there. Wowprime has successfully established a franchise in Thailand via an agent and the food conglomerate is trying to duplicate the same model in other countries in the region. Day said he has taken inspiration from Starbucks when it comes to entering new markets.

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Steve Day, chairman of Wowprime, talks about his passion and ambitions for his food conglomerate during an interview with The China Post in The Westin Hotel in Taipei on April 26. ...

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