Japanese restaurant group RE&S to open 4 new outlets in Singapore by year-end

Executive director and chief executive Foo Kah Lee said RE&S Holdings plans to open four new outlets in Singapore by the end of 2021. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Japanese restaurant group RE&S Holdings plans to open four new outlets in Singapore by the end of this year despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, according to executive director and chief executive Foo Kah Lee, in an interview with Lianhe Zaobao published on Thursday (May 13).

Already, the group - which operates 20 dining concepts including Ichiban Boshi - has opened Yakiniku-Go, a new casual concept, at Seletar Mall and Jurong Point.

RE&S had said in its earnings announcement in February that it is "actively seeking opportunities to forge ahead with the expansion of its QSR (quick service restaurant) concepts", even as it remains cautiously optimistic amid the pandemic.

The focus on QSR concepts comes as manpower remains a challenge for RE&S. The group is also pursuing automation to raise the productivity of its central kitchen, Mr Foo told Zaobao.

RE&S will focus on expanding locally instead of overseas for now, Mr Foo also said. This is as RE&S, which has 76 outlets in Singapore and four in Malaysia, has yet to establish a programme that will allow it to easily replicate its concepts overseas.

In February, RE&S reported a net profit of $7.5 million for the half year ended December 2020, a reversal of the $3.76 million net loss it posted previously. This was mainly due to cost control measures and government support received in the light of the pandemic.

Revenue for the period had decreased 3.7 per cent on the year to $64 million, mainly due to the closure of three outlets and social distancing measures which restricted dine-in capacities. It had also converted three restaurants to QSR concepts.

Shares of Catalist-listed RE&S closed down 5 per cent at $0.152 on Wednesday, before the Zaobao article was published.

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