Business

Little Tokyo pumps $2m into new HWT restaurant

BY KARENA BENNETT Business reporter bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, August 12, 2014    

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Harry Zheng is investing $2 million in another Little Toyko restaurant at Limelight Entertainment Complex in Half-Way-Tree, St Andrew.

The restaurant, scheduled to open this week, will bring to 12 the number of Little Toyko stores across the island.

Zheng expects some $36 million in revenue annually from the new location.

"That location is very busy, especially with the bus stop being right there," Zheng told the Jamaica Observer. "Each location carries a different market."

With another facility in Seventh Avenue Plaza, Half-Way-Tree, Zheng explained that while business has been good, that restaurant caters to "uptown customers".

"Having the Limelight location is good for customers coming from work or just passing by," Zheng told Sunday Finance.

Despite fierce competition from popular Chinese eateries and newly established Little Hong Kong Restaurant, Zheng is confident that his store will do well.

"I don't think Little Hong Kong is a problem. They don't have any parking and the size is much different," Zheng stated.

The new Little Tokyo restaurant covers 3,000 square feet and has a seating capacity of 50, the largest space that the chain has ever occupied.

Zheng hopes to employ 15 individuals to carry out operations.

Unlike other Japanese or Chinese restaurateurs, Zheng plans to offer Jamaican breakfast menus at the new location, just as is done at Little Toyko in Seventh Avenue Plaza.

"We plan to offer fried dumplings, bananas, ackee and saltfish, stew chicken and so on. We try to localise our dishes to give people more selections," said Zheng.

The Limelight location was once occupied by American fast food company Popeye's Chicken and Seafood, after which it was transformed into a bar and gaming lounge.

Little Toyko first opened in Jamaica in 2006 at Sovereign Shopping Centre, Liguanea. The company, which serves a mixture of Japanese, Chinese and Asian cuisine, currently has restaurants in Kingston, Mandeville, Savanna-la-Mar, St Catherine, and Ocho Rios.

"We are looking at having more locations, perhaps one or two additional locations every year," said Zheng.

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