MEAT CONCEPTS Inc., the group behind KPub BBQ, Thai BBQ,Ogawa, Oppa Chicken, Modern China, and Rico’s Lechon, among others, is opening several new concepts this year: a Chinese hotpot restaurant, another Cantonese concept, a steakhouse, and a Korean stew spot.

“I’m crazy. I don’t rest on my laurels. I want to keep going,” said CEO George Pua in an interview with BusinessWorld on the sidelines of the opening of the KPub BBQ in Tiendesitas.

The Tiendesitas branch is the group’s fifth: others are its flagship in BGC, and at Trinoma, Ayala Center Cebu, and Glorietta.

The launch also served to celebrate KPub BBQ’s 6th anniversary and its one-millionth customer. In connection with these milestones, it will be introducing new dishes, new amenities, a loyalty program, a new partnership, according to a press release.

The Tiendesitas branch, which seats 500, introduces a “Korean Favorites Festival” buffet where guests can sample well-known Korean dishes to complement KPub BBQ’s unlimited servings of beef, pork, and chicken. Apart from the usual plateful of kimchi and assortment of Korean barbecue sauces, there is now a special cheese dip for meats, which is all the rage in dining concepts in Seoul, according to the press release.

The Tiendesitas branch also has a massive Samsung 4K Ultra HD video wall display which is supposed to be the biggest video wall in the Philippines.

There will be live performances from Mondays to Sundays, featuring different local bands live on stage. For big groups and private parties, there are two VIP rooms in the branch.

The Tiendesitas branch also has a wall of refrigerators filled with bottles and cans of the favorite in South Korea, Tsingtao Beer. Diners can just go to the wall and help themselves to any of the six variants.

COPYCATS
While he has acknowledged that other chains have popped up since KPub’s opening in 2013, Mr. Pua says, “They tried to copy it, but they can’t copy the whole thing.” KPub operates on an all-you-can-eat basis, within a time limit of one hour. Giant screens are used to project K-Pop videos while you are dining, giving the impression that you are in a Korean-themed nightclub. Asked how he makes a profit on a buffet basis, he said, “You win some, you lose some.” Sometimes, he says, you can get a very hungry customer who can polish off several plates, but then, “There are those petite ones who eat very little.”

KPub BBQ serves unlimited heaps of thinly sliced beef, pork or chicken which are cooked on a built-in grill at the dining tables, and refillable plates of Korean side dishes or banchan.

Mr. Pua points out that most of his restaurants have barbeque concepts: aside from KPub there is Thai BBQ, with the barbeque right in its name; Japanese restaurant Ogawa has a barbeque section, and so does Modern China. If you squint really hard, Rico’s Lechon can be construed as a form of barbeque.

“I personally love barbeque,” he said. Thinking about his restaurant portfolio, he said, “Everything is barbecue!”

“Filipinos love meat — seafood is more expensive than meat, so meat is more affordable to a lot of Filipinos.” — J.L. Garcia

KPub BBQ Tiendesitas is located at Bldg. B, Level 2 Food Village, Tiendesitas, Ortigas East, Pasig City. It is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to midnight. For details contact 0917-866-8346.