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Jun Lee, Gami Chicken’s Co-Founder and Executive Director

How Gami Chicken found growth in adapting to what customers want

The brand saw triple-digit percentage growth in its sales last year.

When Gami Chicken’s fried chicken sales dipped 9.5% in early 2023, the brand realised that it needed a new strategy. One that was focused on getting what consumers wanted.

In a quick interview with Jun Lee, Gami Chicken’s Co-Founder and Executive Director, he said the heightened demand for healthier food options was the cause of the dip in their sales, especially as the main star of their brand is fried food.

Gami Chicken, which launched in Melbourne in 2006, is a casual dining restaurant known for its Korean fried chicken. The brand has 39 restaurants across Australia.

“The sales of our fried products went down but what we noticed was healthy options like our Bibimbap or even our grilled chicken has been performing well,” Jun said.

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Jun said he realised they needed to change the direction of their brand from being a Korean fried chicken brand to a Korean chicken brand. For Gami Chicken, this means leaning towards their Korean roots and gradually adding more healthier options to their menu like Kkochi Salad, Gochujang Chicken, and a Gami Bowl.

This was a challenge because according to Jun, people perceived healthy options differently. 

“Some customers think that healthy options have to be vegan. For some, it has to be a balanced meal with protein, carbs, and fibre. We had to redefine what healthy options mean for Gami. And we found the answer from Korean traditional dishes,” Jun explained.

After implementing these changes in the middle of 2023, Gami Chicken saw its sales grow by 172% from July 2023 to December. 

For Jun, it is not about providing healthy options but healthier options. This means providing choices that may not be strictly healthy but healthier than traditional options like adding more veggies.

“For example, if someone loves fried chicken, they can find a great-tasting grilled chicken option on our menu. It can be healthier for them. If someone doesn’t like salad that much, we have a great salad option with our meat options, that’s healthier. What we are trying to do is to provide these options so customers can choose and pick."

Jun said they are currently busy with restructuring their menu because affordability is a big challenge in the market for both businesses and consumers. 

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“I’m not trying to make a big margin but I am trying to make our margins optimal for both franchisees and consumers what we are doing putting value on what customers want. Sometimes $15 can be expensive but if we would be able to put value on that, it will still be the cheaper option for them. That’s a challenge for me at the moment and I hope to respond to that,’ Jun said.

With the menu restructuring, Jun said he aims to build the brand’s foundation for the coming years. This means leveraging their strong products and identifying which products they can expand more on.

“With that foundation, by 2025, we can implement some amazing innovations,” Jun said.

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