South Korean-based franchise bb.q Chicken is widely known on an international level. Now, the brand is making a name for itself in the U.S., too. The Korean Fried Chicken brand has over 3,500 locations across 57 countries worldwide and has grown to 160 stateside locations.
The brand has forged a unique identity by leaning into its authenticity. At bb.q (pronounced bee-bee-que), marinades arrive directly from Seoul. All recipes, processes, and ingredients are exactly the same in the U.S. as they are in South Korea, which means the food eaten at a local bb.q in the U.S. tastes exactly the same as it does in Seoul.
“Our brand is authentic as it gets,” says bb.q Chicken USA CEO Hyongbong Kim. “We don’t try to ‘Americanize’ our food in the way other international brands do. We stay true to our Korean traditions because we want the dining experience to be as consistent and authentic as possible.”
The menu boasts fried chicken marinated in a unique blend of spices, fried in a way that makes it lighter, less greasy, and crispier than other fried-chicken alternatives. bb.q customers can choose to have their chicken tossed in an array of bold signature sauces, offering a great degree of customization. Other menu favorites include tteokbokki and kimchi fried rice.
The brand has four different service models with something for every type of consumer—or franchisee. The original and core concept is bb.q Chicken Express, which focuses on takeout and delivery channels. This model has floor plans between 1,000–1,500 square feet, making it ideal for urban areas.
The bb.q Chicken & Beer full-service model has floor plans that range from 2,500–5,000 square feet. Customers can order chicken and other Korean food, as well as drinks from a full bar. Also a full-service model, the bb.q Chicken Cafe offers beer and the entire menu, with layouts ranging from 1,500–5,000 square feet.
The brand’s newest model is the tech-forward bb.q Smart Kitchen (bsk), offering electronic ordering and carryout orders fulfilled using touchless lockers. BSK locations can be built into spaces as small as 800 square feet and require only a handful of employees per shift.
“The new BSK concept will be perfect for high-density areas where square footage is more expensive but foot traffic is high,” Kim says. “It’s a streamlined way of doing things, allowing for faster service and helping staff focus on fulfilling orders instead of managing the takeout counter.”
The Korean brand is looking for franchisees to incrementally grow a portfolio. “We hope franchisees start with a location in a metro area and then grow to two, three, or more locations after each successful launch,” Kim says. “We are interested in working with all franchisee types—from those who are deeply experienced to those who are new to restaurant franchising.”
Those interested can look for the bb.q Chicken booth at both the Multi-Unit Franchising Conference in Las Vegas in late April, as well as the International Franchise Expo in New York in early June.
Interested in franchising with bb.q? Visit the company's franchising website.