Social business enters restaurant sector

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=213191

Social business enters restaurant sector

Nobel laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus, middle, chairman of Yunus Centre, and Miki Watanabe, right, chief executive officer of Watami Group, shake hands along with Masaharu Okada, left, executive director of Grameen Creative Lab at Kyushu University in Japan, at a deal signing ceremony in Dhaka yesterday. Yunus Centre and Watami Group will set up restaurants in Bangladesh. Photo: Yunus Centre

Star Business Report

Japan’s leading food and beverage brand Watami Group yesterday signed a joint venture agreement with the Yunus Centre to establish a social business in the restaurant sector in Bangladesh.

A number of restaurants would be set up across the country under the joint venture that aims to produce quality food through its outlets.

Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, chairman of Yunus Centre, and Miki Watanabe, chief executive officer of Watami Group, signed the agreement at Yunus Centre in Dhaka.

The objective of the social business joint venture is to create jobs, provide healthy food and promote local cuisine and training for food service professionals, said the Nobel laureate.

The social business pioneer also said the restaurants would not be only set up in the capital city, but also in many other cities across the country.

The Japanese company will provide training and management skills to produce quality dishes at affordable prices in order to set up the first restaurant in Bangladesh by 2014, said Watanabe.

He also said the venture could generate about 3,000 jobs. He also showed interest to replicate the social business venture in other markets where his company operates, if its Bangladesh’s venture becomes successful.

The joint venture aims to spread the business in the rural parts of Bangladesh as well and also setting up training schools for young people to become professional chefs for both domestic and international employment. As a social business, neither Watami Group nor Yunus Centre will be receiving any profit from this joint venture.

The Yunus Centre is the global hub for all social businesses around the world, including microcredit, health care services and environment.

Watami Group is the top food and beverage brand in Japan. The company has grown into 600 restaurants in Japan and 30 other outlets overseas in a short span of 25 years.

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