Nov. 19, 2010

MANILA — The Bellagio-Lugang Xiaozhen Group, one of China’s biggest restaurant chains, has opened its first international franchise in the Philippines, under the Lugang Café brand.

With an investment of close to P65 million, the group led by business Peter Chua and man his wife Annabelle put up the first of a planned chain of trendy Chinese-Taiwanese cuisine restaurants in Greenhills.

According to Annabelle Chua, the restaurant had to adopt the Lugang Café name as the Bellagio brand name has already been registered in the Philippines by the Bellagio Group of Las Vegas.

The Beijing-based Bellagio restaurant chain has 26 branches all over China.

Its first branch in the Philippines will be its 27th branch.

The Chuas were first introduced to the Bellagio Lugang Group by the daughter-in-law of Carlos Chan of the Oishi/Liwayway Group.

Impressed with the fine cuisine of the trendy restaurant in Shanghai, the Chua couple decided to approach the Lin family to secure a franchise to open a restaurant in the Philippines.

The flagship restaurant in Connecticut Street in Greenhills sits on a 400-square meter former residential lot that was completely torn down, giving way to the three-storey building/restaurant.

Chua said the restaurant is envisioned to be the first of a series of Lugang restaurants, depending on how it would be accepted by the public.

The Greenhills outlet would also serve as the main kitchen/commissary for the envisioned chain.

Lugang Cafe did a soft opening on Nov. 13 said to be an auspicious feng shui date for new business openings.

It will formally open on Nov. 22.

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