Mad For Garlic, which began life in 2001 and now operates 27 sites in Korea and four in Asia, wants to bring its garlic-specialised Italian cuisine to the US, EU and ME markets, with founder and chief executive Caroline Nam claiming ‘the world is ready’ for the concept.
“Like many Korean brands that have first proven themselves in the local Korean market, we now feel the time is right to explore new markets outside the country.” Nam told BigHospitality. “In part, Korean brands are now seen as high quality and popular products, services and concepts.
“We offer about 50 menu items and every dish has something in common – they are all about garlic. Mad for Garlic aims to present customers with an exquisite harmony of garlic and wine by pairing quality wines.”
With signature dishes such as the ‘Dracula Killer’ (garlic bread with anchovies), ‘Garlic Snowing Pizza’ and garlic steak, Mad For Garlic claims to be different from any other restaurant. The area in which it is most prominent – South Korea - has become known for its economic growth and a cultural trend called ‘Korean Wave’, promoting Korean cultural exports and innovations in film, music and cuisine worldwide.
“As the Korean Wave has spread globally, there is a demand for Korean music, cinema, and food,” added Nam. “With the right partner we see a huge potential not only in the UK but the Middle East and select markets in Europe. That said, our focus is on operating quality restaurants and we are less driven by the number of locations.
“We are first interested in partnering with an established F&B firm that has the ability to operate the master development franchise. Mad For Garlic is a ‘concept restaurant’, so we feel the best operators are those who can embrace the theme and concept.”
To spearhead its EU, ME, and North American expansion, Mad For Garlic has partnered with Bridging Culture Worldwide (BCW), a global consulting firm that focuses on Korea facing business ventures.
Don Southerton, BCW’s chief executive, said: “We are thrilled to assist in finding the right partners for the brand. If a developer meets our criteria, which includes the financial resources to fund a multi-unit development plan, we’d love to talk further about Mad For Garlic.”