Franchising Great Tasting Food
Those who have a penchant for great food are sure to be familiar with Sakura Kristal, a family restaurant where mouth-watering Western and Asian dishes are presented in a style of their own. This is the only restaurant which serves the traditional ‘wok’ cooking and contemporary ‘grill’ fare with aplomb since 2003. Franchise Asia spoke to Alex Chong, its Franchise Manager recently on what drives Sakura Kristal to go great lengths to present such gastronomical experience for its customers.
“…we are the pioneer in the franchise industry for having two concepts in one, namely, Wok and Grill”
Please briefly tell us about the background of Sakura Kristal
Sakura Kristal was established in 2003 in Lebuh Pudu and moved to a more strategic location in Wangsa Maju. Due to high customer demand, we moved again and finally stationed in Taman Melawati where our flagship outlet is now located. Being in the F&B business, we have been through a lot of obstacles along the way but we endured through conducting extensive research and development (R&D), surveys on customer satisfaction, and putting forth efforts to provide our customers with extensive food varieties and excellent customer service. By keeping up with public demand in terms of taste and variety, we ensured our popularity with the customers.
Sakura Kristal is said to be a pioneer in the fusion concept of cooking with wok and grill in Malaysia. What makes this concept so different?
We are proud to say that we are the pioneer in the franchise industry for having two concepts in one, namely, ‘Wok’ and ‘Grill’. Many would have avoided the idea as it requires more equipment than usual as well as more manpower. However, it is also through this concept that we have achieved business sustainability with the varieties that Sakura Kristal offers. We also believe this concept/franchise system is rather unique and will not fade away like any other franchise business but stay strong for many decades to come. Simply put, our ‘Wok’ focuses on traditional recipes of which the older generations adore, while ‘Grill’ sees us improve and incessantly create new and creative dishes with new techniques that attract the younger generation. We believe this gives the ideal setting for the whole family to enjoy various dishes and tastes catered for various ethnic groups, hence our tag line, KNOW YOUR TASTE.
The food business is a highly competitive business. How is Sakura Kristal able to stand ahead of the rest all these years?
Variety is the key to sustainability, and of course we have also been consistent with our food quality all these years, and have not compromised it for any reason. Customer satisfaction is pivotal to our business survival. Hence we provide a comfortable dining experience with our excellent rated service, with our customers in mind. And it is no surprise that we have won numerous ceritifications in our quest to deliver high quality food, e.g., ‘Premis Perniagaan Makanan Bersih, Gred A’ in 2009 and again in 2011 from Majilis Perbandaran Ampang Jaya (MPAJ). Another certification we are quite proud of is the HALAL certification that have been awarded to our food outlets, which means all sectors of society can patronise our outlets with complete peace of mind. Due to our food quality, great taste, and outlet cleanliness, we have been given positive reviews by well-known TV food channel like ‘Jalan- Jalan Cari Makan’, and other programmes including, Bernama TV, F.Y.I. for Premis Makanan Bersih, etc., These have only helped to increase our popularity to attract new customers.
Having said that, we know quality food is just one of the key factors. Apart from great food, high quality service is also crucial to survive in the F&B industry. To ensure top notch service is always available at Sakura Kristal, we even provide consistent training every month to our service crew members. This speaks much about our commitment for excellence.
Sakura Kristal has major plans to spread its wings throughout Peninsular Malaysia and also enter untapped markets of Indonesia, China and the Middle East. How is Sakura Kristal progressing on this?
We are still in the midst of advertising and promoting our franchise business as this is a crucial aspect to build our brand. This is arduous and will take at least a few months. We are still in pursuit of our first franchisee, although we have numerous prospects in hand, some coming from Kota Bahru. Johor Baru, Kuantan, Kota Kinabalu, Langkawi, Alor Setar and even overseas like Melbourne, London and Jakarta. As we are still new to the franchising business, we do not wish to rush on our franchise because we would like to preserve the originality of our concept. There is no point in opening dozens of outlets in the short span of a year or two as this is not our objective. Furthermore, this will only result in over expansion at the expense of our brand quality. However, we will continue to expand and promote ourselves as we would also want our franchisees to enjoy the brand building programme and publicity created by our brand. This way, we can be sure that the quality of our brand is maintained and that we are able to mitigate any unforeseen risks, if they arise.
What are the criteria that Sakura Kristal looks for in a franchisee?
We are keen on entrepreneurs instead of pure investors. The criteria that we will look at will be their commitment, and their ability to sacrifice the time needed for business. In addition, the franchisees should have sufficient financial backing to operate the franchise business.
What can we expect more from Sakura Kristal in the coming years?
Our customers can expect to see more outlets with fresh menus to excite their taste buds. Be also ready for our new outlets at KL Festival City in Danau Kota, Setapak, projected to open in July this year, and at Setia City Mall in Setia Alam, Shah Alam, February next year. At the moment, we are also looking at a number of places in the Klang Valley, specifically Bangi, Putrajaya, Cyberjaya and Kajang.
Finally, for entrepreneurs looking for the right opportunity to become successful, look no further, because Sakura Kristal will be the BEST family concept business you can own!