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Ruth's Hospitality Group to expand to China

Ruth's Hospitality Group to expand to China

Agreement with Ko China Hospitality Limited to bring four Ruth’s Chris Steak House restaurants to the country

Ruth’s Hospitality Group Inc. will expand into China by the end of 2013, the company said Wednesday.

The company has signed an agreement with Ko China Hospitality Limited to open four Ruth’s Chris Steak House restaurants in Shanghai and Beijing during the next three years. According to a statement, Ko China is a subsidiary of Hasmore Limited, a Ruth’s Chris franchisee-owner.

This agreement marks the brand's first move into China.

“This significant development builds upon our…success in Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, and we look forward to debuting the Ruth’s Chris experience to new guests in China this year,” said Ruth’s Hospitality Group president and chief executive Michael P. O’Donnell in a statement.

The first of the four China restaurants is scheduled to open in Shanghai before the end of 2013. The second will open in 2014 and the final two will open in 2015, said spokeswoman Kristina Jorge in an email.

As the world’s most populous country and likely soon-to-be largest economy, China is a sought-after market for many U.S. foodservice companies. In December, Tampa-based Bloomin’ Brands Inc. opened an Outback Steakhouse in Shanghai. The location marked Bloomin’ Brands’ first company-owned restaurant in China.

Quick-service brands are also big players in the burgeoning Chinese foodservice market. Yum! Brands, the parent company of Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell, has made China an integral part of its growth plans in coming years. And in June, Burger King entered into a joint agreement with a master franchisee and a private equity firm to open 1,000 restaurants in China during the next five years.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House has more than 130 locations worldwide, including locations in Mexico, Canada, Dubai, Aruba and El Salvador.

The company’s Winter Park, Fla.-based parent, Ruth’s Hospitality Group, also owns the Mitchell’s Fish Market, Mitchell’s Steakhouse, Columbus Fish Market and Cameron’s Steakhouse concepts.

Contact Erin Dostal at [email protected].
Follow her on Twitter: @ErinDostal

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