Johnny Rockets launches in Malaysia

Plans are underway to launch the first Johnny Rockets restaurant in KL in the first half of 2013, with nine additional restaurants to be opened within the next 10 years.

This follows after a franchise agreement was signed between AUM Asiatic Restaurants (AAR) and The Johnny Rockets Group in the US.

Steve Devine, president, international division, The Johnny Rockets Group, Inc, said Malaysia's cultural and ethnic diversity and amenability towards international menus makes it a huge potential market.

"More than hamburgers and shakes, Johnny Rockets is about creating experiences for our Malaysian customers.  We provide the décor, music, food and fun that signifies the best that America has to offer through the years.

Devine says that the goal is to have between 10 and 15 Johnny Rockets outlets throughout Malaysia, adding that, typically, about US$1million - US$1.3 million is needed to open an outlet in the US.

Locally, Johnny Rockets will be using "non-conventional" marketing approaches such as holding flash mobs and on-ground campaigns to raise awareness of the new chain.

Frank Lim, group general manager of Entity B Group of Companies, which owns AAR, tellsA+M that it will be spending slightly more than average on marketing.

"On average, RM100,000 to RM150,000 is spent on pre-opening marketing campaign for each outlet. As Johnny Rockets is a new brand and which we are planning to roll out relatively fast, we would be spending anywhere from RM200,000 to RM250,000 on pre-opening marketing expenses," says Lim, adding that subsequently, it will spend 3% to 5% of sales on monthly marketing expenses.