Industry News | February 13, 2006

Kelvin Chen Named New Manchu WOK President

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Focus and discipline are core principles that have long been associated with Chinese business practice. Now, one more Canadian company is cashing in on the benefits of these ideals.

Manchu WOK, Canada’s leader in fast-food Chinese restaurants, was recently acquired by one of its main shareholders, Café de Coral Group (CDC), a Hong Kong-based major industry player. It will couple its Asian business culture and philosophies with Manchu WOK’s Canadian heritage and strong reputation.

Over the past 35 years, CDC has achieved outstanding success in serving food to people in North America and Asia. Traded on the Hong Kong Exchange (341), its stock prices soared from $0.40 CND in 1999 to its current price of $1.40 CND. Its primary North American restaurant chain is the Canadian-based Manchu WOK. Heading up Manchu WOK under this new leadership is new President and CEO Kelvin Chen.

“What the market will see in the short term is stronger support to our current franchisees,” says Chen. “We will also fine tune the success of our ‘Street’ stores, a concept that has introduced many firsts to the industry. It’s an aggressive yet focused plan but we believe, if you act like everyone else you will end up like everyone else.”

Chen himself represents this new synergy of combining Chinese and North American ideologies. He obtained his MBA in 1974 from the University of Southern California and his CPA accreditation in 1977. He has held positions as a vice president of Chemical Bank in Hong Kong and Toronto, consulting partner at Ernst & Young in China, and general manager of Pizza Hut in Indonesia.

Although Manchu WOK is committed to keeping the foods that are so popular with Canadians, the company believes that consumers are more sophisticated than they were 25 years ago and are looking for more authentic options in their Chinese food. Consumers will see a more sophisticated Chinese fast-food approach with the creation of new menu items and modern décor. “The strategy is based on being acutely aware of our customers, being in tune with shifts in customer behaviors and tastes and then being flexible enough to respond in a timely and creative manner.”