Tung Lok opens second Singapore Seafood restaurant in Beijing as it eyes expansion in China

SINGAPORE - Tung Lok Restaurants (2000) has opened its second Singapore Seafood by TungLok in Beijing, and is exploring further expansion in China in a bid to reduce over-dependence on its key market of Singapore.

The second outlet was opened at the China World Mall in May through a 40 per cent-owned associate, Beijing Xihe Tung Lok Restaurant Co.

"It is exploring further roll-outs there and in other first- and second-tier Chinese cities in light of the current tough operating environment in Singapore," the company said in a business update on Monday (July 31).

The food and beverage industry here has been grappling with stiff competition, rising operating costs, manpower constraints and more recently, weaker consumer spending.

The Singapore Seafood by TungLok brand was rebranded in September last year from My Humble House.

This Chinese restaurant concept was launched in Beijing in 2004 and operated through a 70 per cent-owned subsidiary, My Humble House Xihe (Beijing) Restaurant Co, which was set-up in collaboration with Beijing-based Chinese restaurant operator XiHe Group.

Its efforts have paid off. The group was profitable in full year 2016 and this year. As at 31 March 2017, the group has net working capital of S$8.6 million and cash and bank balances of S$15.0 million.

The group has been rejuvenating some of its restaurant concepts and in 2015, it launched an online ready to eat food delivery service, Home Fiesta. TungLok has also tied up with e-commerce and food delivery platforms such as Qoo10, Food Panda and Deliveroo.

The group intends to roll out more quick-service restaurants and casual dining concepts in Singapore. Dancing Crab, Tung Lok Teahouse and Lokkee are among existing casual dining concepts that have been well-received.

Technology-centric, manpower-lean, and typically no more than 1,500 square feet in size, quick service restaurants will feature digital menu boards, self-service and ordering through smart devices. To attract younger diners, the group will also step up engagement with them through social media such as Facebook, WeChat and Instagram.

The group operates 46 restaurant outlets across Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, China and Vietnam, and more than 20 F&B brands. These comprise 26 outlets owned by the group, 9 outlets held by its associates and 11 outlets under franchising/licensing contracts.