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Local teashop chain to partner with Japanese pork chop restaurant

TAIPEI--Taiwanese teashop company La Kaffa International Co. is expanding into the restaurant business, teaming up with a Japanese enterprise to offer what they are calling “the most authentic” pork chops in Taiwan.

La Kaffa's first Wagokoro Tonkatsu Anzu restaurant opened in Taipei on Monday, under the brand owned by the Japanese company ATOM Co., and a second one is scheduled to open later in the week, followed by another six to eight this year and 20-30 more over the next three years.

La Kaffa President Henry Wang said at Monday's opening ceremony that there is great potential in Taiwan's pork chops market, which is estimated at nearly US$100 million annually.

“This is a milestone for the company,” Wang said, referring to La Kaffa's venture into the restaurant business on the 10th anniversary of its highly successful Chatime teashop chain that extends to 80 cities in over 25 countries and regions.

If the partnership with ATOM Co. works out well, the companies will expand their restaurant business further, he told CNA.

ATOM President Toshiki Hanada said plans are already underway for the two companies to jointly open their first overseas Wagokoro Tonkatsu Anzu restaurant in Shanghai in June.

The restaurant chain, which incorporates the Japanese word for pork chops “tonkatsu,” has been in Taiwan for almost eight years but ATOM said the sales agent has not been delivering the authentic brand flavor. When the contract with that agent expires in 2015, those five restaurants around Taiwan will be closed, ATOM said.

To distinguish its restaurants from the others, La Kaffa is promoting its pork chop stores as “Wagokoro Tonkatsu Ginza Anzu.”

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