Fried chicken has become an iconic part of South Korean life, but its ubiguity is having a dear economic price as fried chicken restaurant stores now close faster than they open in the saturated market, survey showed.
According to a report released by KB Financial Group on Monday, there were about 25,000 franchised chicken shops across the nation, accounting for 21.1 percent in total franchised stores in the country. The number of newly opened chicken restaurants was on a steady decrease from 9,700 in 2014, 8,200 in 2015, 6,800 in 2016, 5,900 in 2017 and 6,200 in 2018. The pace of shutdowns was faster, with 7,600 shuttered in 2014, 8,400 in 2015, 8,700 in 2016, 8,900 in 2017 and 8,400 in 2018.
Thanks to the growing popularity of chicken in Korea, a chicken store has become an easy option for retirees starting own businesses to make living. The number of franchise fried chicken brands reached 409 in 2018, up by 25 from the previous year. BBQ runs the most number of shops across the country at 1,659 in 2018, maintaining the leading position for the fourth consecutive year since 2015. It was followed by BHC with 1,456 stores, Pelicana 1,176 and Nene Chicken 1,037.
The average size of floor area of new chicken stores got smaller from 67.6 square meters in 2011 to 60.1 square meters in 2018. Owners with larger stores were more likely to shutter their business, with the average size of closed down restaurants increased from 58.1 square meters to 64.7 square meters over the same period.
The report said that the nation’s fried chicken market is expected to grow on the rising demand, but chicken restaurant owners would continue to suffer from low business due to the intensifying competition and rising costs.
By Kim Tae-sung and Choi Mira
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]