DAE GEE KOREAN BBQ – a hybrid fast casual and full-service Korean barbeque concept progressively blending Korean food tradition with American culture – is looking to expand its presence in the state of Texas by as many as 15 units, as the demand for Korean food continues to increase among U.S. consumers.
Having recently signed an agreement for the development of two restaurants in Amarillo, the budding Denver-based franchise has now set its sights on Austin, Houston and San Antonio for its next wave of Texas expansion. Company plans call for opening as many as five restaurants across each of the metro areas over the next three years.
“With a complexity of different flavors and cuisine largely comprised of proteins, vegetables, grains and assorted spices, Korean food is a great choice for the health-conscious and clean-eating consumer. And the trend shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon,” says DAE GEE founder Joseph Kim. “We’re eager to bring a different flavor, variety and overall dining experience to Texas.”
Founded in 2012, DAE GEE’s rise in popularity began in 2015, when the chain was featured on three separate occasions on celebrity restaurateur Guy Fieri’s food reality television series Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Today, Dae Gee, meaning “pig” in Korean, has five corporate-owned restaurants open and operating across Colorado’s Front Range.
The chain is much like traditional Korean BBQ, which exposes customers to an interactive, all-you-can-eat experience, which allows them to cook their own meat on grill tops at their tables when they dine.
Hungry customers will have the option to choose from a variety of traditional Korean meats like Galbee (Beef Shot Ribs), Sam Gyeob Sal (Sliced Pork Belly) and Dak Bulgogi (Chicken), which are marinated in DAE GEE’s secret marinade. Each choice meat, as well as fish and vegetarian options, can be enjoyed in a bowl, hot stone pot, or tucked inside lettuce and eaten as a wrap. Entrees can be piled high with your choice of side or mixings, including rice, fresh slaw, spicy sauce and a variety of nine side dishes, such as kimchee, broccoli, radish and fish cakes.
“DAE GEE lights up your senses and enriches the full human experience,” adds Kim. “From generations of recipes passed down, we leave our customers well fed with culture, humor, and top quality home recipe style Korean food.”
The Texas expansion announcement comes just a few months after DAE GEE announced the launch of its franchise opportunity and plans to expand across the Western United States. Kim expects as many as 5-10 new Dae Gee restaurants to open over the next 12 months and at least that many each year thereafter.
Including a franchise fee of $45,000, the total investment to open a DAE GEE restaurant ranges from $679,375 to $954,125. Each restaurant typically occupies approximately 1,500-2,000 square feet of real estate and employs as many as 10 people.