Bonchon, on a mission to share the joy of Korean food around the world, announces that it achieved its strongest new store sales in company history in 2023, with 40+ locations signed throughout the year. The franchise concept, known for its distinctive Korean fried chicken, hand battered and double-fried to achieve its craveable crunch and hand-brushed to perfection with its proprietary sauces, looks forward to bringing its unique flavor to several new markets in 2024, including southern Florida; Little Rock, AR; Tucson, AZ; and Ann Arbor, MI.
Building on this momentum, Bonchon is pleased to announce that Suzie Tsai has been named the brand’s U.S. CEO. Tsai, who joined the company in 2023 as Chief Growth Officer, brings over 25 years of marketing and branding leadership experience with major brands including On The Border Mexican Grill and Cantina, Chili’s Grill & Bar, KidZania, and Verizon. Bryan Shin will focus on global expansion as International CEO and Group CFO.
“It is an honor for me to lead Bonchon at this pivotal moment in its history and with a brand I feel personally connected. Like Bonchon, I was born in South Korea and moved to America,” says Tsai. “Bonchon continues to evolve and strengthen critical elements in our offerings, from menu and technology, to store formats that reach our customers when and where they get that one-of-a-kind Bonchon craving. We look forward to breaking into new territories and exploring possibilities in the years to come.”
Founded in Busan, South Korea in 2002, Bonchon first opened in the U.S. in New York City in 2006 and is well on its way to growing from 130 to 500 U.S. locations and 1,000 locations worldwide in the next five years. 2023 saw continued expansion within existing markets such as Chicago, Colorado Springs, Denver, Houston, Nashville, New York City, Raleigh, and Washington, D.C., with record-breaking openings in Smyrna, GA and White Plains, NY demonstrating consistent performance beyond forecasted projections. On the international front, Bonchon debuted its first restaurant in France in 2023, with Spain and Taiwan recently signing on for future openings.
While the ongoing popularity of Korean culture and cuisine has significantly contributed to interest in the brand, Bonchon has strategically evolved its variety of restaurant formats to enable franchise partners to open locations best positioned to succeed in their local markets. In addition to traditional full dining and fast casual options as well as recent openings in malls and food courts, Bonchon launched its first two ghost kitchens and first hotel location in 2023, with its airport debut slated for 2025.
To attract both customers and potential franchise partners, the brand also continually focuses on innovating its menu, which includes its signature fried chicken and award-winning wings, along with a variety of approachable Korean specialties. This past year marked the introduction of traditional Korean Yangnyeom and K-BBQ sauces to accompany Bonchon’s proprietary sauces, Soy Garlic & Spicy, which use authentic ingredients and have been perfected over a 20-year period. The richness and distinctive flavors of the sauce combined with the extra crispy fried chicken has become a fan favorite among Bonchon’s customers.