Korean fried chicken has begun to attract the American palate, with Datassential reporting that the menu item grew by 140 percent between 2016 and 2020. One of the leading brands in that movement is bb.q chicken, a Korean chicken brand with over 3,500 locations across 57 countries, which is now rapidly growing in North America.
There is a saying in Korean culture, says bb.q Chicken USA CEO Hyongbong Kim, that “food is the gateway to all culture.” Just like the saying, Korean cuisine has led the “Korean Wave,” or the rising global popularity of South Korean culture in general. From the smash success of Netflix series “Squid Games,” to K-Pop’s entry onto the international music charts, Korean culture has seeped into the consciousness of various countries.
“The best Korean fried chicken brand, bb.q, came to the U.S. in 2007,” Kim says. “Since, it has established its brand in North America by showing Korean food culture is part of K-Culture.”
Genesis BBQ, one of the largest Korean food and beverage franchise groups and parent company of bb.q, is aiming to ride its authentic food and “best of the best” service to a larger market share in the U.S. and Canada. Having already doubled in size since 2019 in the U.S. and Canada—going from 70 units to 140—Genesis BBQ aims to grow its unit count across its multiple brands to 10,000 total stores by 2027. The brand plans to do that through organic growth, mergers, and acquisitions.
bb.q believes its authenticity is what positions it as South Korea’s next big export. Its signature items include Golden Original Chicken, Secret Spicy and Honey Garlic wings, along with authentic K-Food, such as tteokbokki. Chicken menu items are paired with sauces that help accentuate bb.q’s signature flavor profiles. Key ingredients that serve as the base for those sauces and marinades are imported from South Korea, emphasizing the brand’s authenticity.
“It is a taste that sets us apart from other Korean food brands,” Kim says. “bb.q serves the customer from its 26 years of experience and has a system in place to protect its fundamental values. bb.q Chicken exists today because we’ve provided the ‘best of the best’ service and the ‘best of the best’ taste.”
One of the many reasons bb.q is thriving is the brand’s perfect fit as a dine-in and delivery, takeout and grab-go concept. Also, it has successfully implemented digital transformation, with robust mobile and online ordering systems. bb.q is looking into the drive-thru model for units built after 2022 to further lean into the off-premises channels it has perfected over the years.
Franchisees are entitled to best-in-class technology, two weeks’ of rigorous training, and grand opening marketing investments at all locations, because, Kim explains, of Genesis BBQ Group’s belief that the franchisee’s success is the franchisor’s success.
“That’s our motto—when the franchisee thrives, the franchisor thrives,” Kim says. “Everything we do revolves around the franchisee. We put them first—we think that makes our brand very unique and gives us a strong sense of identity within the franchise industry.”
For more on franchising with bb.q, visit bbdotqchicken.com.