8 July 2019
Texchem Resources Bhd’s subsidiary Sushi Kin Sdn Bhd plans to open 65 Sushi King outlets nationwide in the next five years.
The company has allocated RM50 million in capital expenditure on the new outlets.
Sushi Kin managing director Hiroki Mori said the company was expected to reach 200 outlets from the current 135 outlets across Malaysia, covering major towns and malls.
“We are focusing on finding opportunities in untapped territories such as working with PLUS highway operator on making Sushi King available at Rest & Relaxation (R&R) areas, petrol stations and airports.
“We want to be where the people are, making it convenient to enjoy their favourite Japanese meals wherever they go,” Mori told the New Straits Times in an interview recently.
He added that the future of Sushi King’s outlets may not necessarily be at the malls but rather following the casual dining concept with smaller outlets, depending on locations.
“Nowadays, people are not really going to the mall due to vast emergence of e-commerce. Hence, we need to identify other areas that people would go to,” he said.
Sushi Kin opened outlets at the second terminal of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (klia2) in October last year followed by at the Shell station in Miri, Sarawak, and subsequently at Rawang R&R in January this year.
Mori said Malaysia is a sustainable market for Sushi King to offer Japanese cuisine, driven by well-accepted Japanese culture among the locals.
“We want to maintain a good momentum in Malaysia and expand aggressively on the back of the growing Muslim and non-Muslim population.”
Mori said Sushi King was the oldest and the first sushi chain in Malaysia, recognising the importance of Halal-compliant in the country’s food and beverages (F&B) sector.
“This was largely attributed to the growing Muslim population. Sushi King started embracing Halal food culture since 2017, obtaining certification from the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (JAKIM).
“Currently, we have about 125 outlets certified by JAKIM and the remaining restaurants are in the process of obtaining Halal certification,” he added.
Mori said the increase in food consumption by the Muslim population would further drive demand in Halal F&B, in line with the Malaysian government’s effort to establish the country as an international hub for halal food.
“While the growth of the halal food market will primarily be driven by increasing demand from Muslims, there is also a rising demand from non-Muslim customers,” he said.
Currently, the ratio of Sushi King’s customers in Malaysia stands at 60 per cent Muslim and 40 per cent non-Muslim.
Mori said Sushi King’s aspiration to become a Halal-compliant sushi chain would not only mean it was permissible but also wholesome, safe for use, effective and hygienic without compromising on the food quality.
“Our commitment to quality is to serve fresh ingredients, which is synonymous to Japanese cuisine. We strive to serve our customers better from sourcing to the hospitality in the restaurant.
“We find Halal suppliers from Japan to ensure sustainable supple of ingredients, while ensuring manpower adhere to skill requirements and are Halal-certified,” he said, adding that the company spent about RM40,000 annually for each supplier in Japan to comply with Halal certification.
Mori said the company had previously approached Japanese suppliers to partner with Sushi King in supplying its raw materials.
Established in Malaysia in 1995, Sushi King was founded by its chairman Tan Sri Dr Fumihiko Konishi with the first outlet opened at The Mall in Kuala Lumpur.
His vision was to be the number one Japanese restaurant chain in Malaysia, serving quality and provide value for money Japanese meals.