WORLD> Asia-Pacific
DPRK's fast food eatery does brisk business
(China Daily)
Updated: 2009-10-12 09:02

SINGAPORE: You want more fries with that, Mr Kim? How about a hotdog, Miss Park?

Western-style fast food is big business in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) thanks to a Singaporean entrepreneur who is already drawing up expansion plans just months after opening his first outlet.

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"There is a potential to develop this business over there," said Patrick Soh.

Soh, 56, holds the franchise in several Asian countries for Waffletown USA, a relatively obscure brand in the region compared to the likes of McDonald's, KFC, Pizza Hut and Burger King, but he has big ambitions.

The first branch of Samtaesong ("three big stars"), as Waffletown is known in DPRK, started operating in May after Soh's company got the first license awarded to a foreign fast food outlet.

Burgers or "minced beef and bread" as they are called, are the biggest attraction at the eatery, which also sells fries, crispy Belgian waffles, fried chicken and - the latest addition - hotdogs.

"It is not only the locals who enjoy the food. Even the foreigners like the food," Soh said.

Soh will make his fourth trip to Pyongyang this month to explore the feasibility of opening a second outlet there.

If all goes smoothly, it should be up and running in early 2010, said Soh.

Since Samtaesong opened its doors in May, customers, including foreign students from China and Russia, have been streaming into the 246-sq m outlet, he said.

"The locals come in and know the food that they want to order," said Soh. About 300 "minced beef and bread" are sold each day, said Soh.