Tracing its first partnership over 25 years ago when the first TGIFridays opened at Glorietta 3, The Bistro Group’s President Jean Paul Manuud, spoke of the planned expansion in Ayala Malls.
“We have a successful relationship, notwithstanding the challenges brought about by this pandemic. In fact, now that the economy is on a rebound, we are ready to expand in different Ayala Malls with the opening of more stores in different locations.”
Of Bistro’s 30 target openings this year, 17 will be located at Ayala Malls, Manuud disclosed. To date, the company has 18 local and foreign restaurant brands with over 100 branches nationwide tucked under its belt.
The new Ayala Triangle, for instance, will be home to their high-end concepts like Rumba (a local Mediterranean Spanish restaurant whose menu was created by Chef Alfredo Rodriguez); Helm (the group’s exclusive, fine dining, degustation restaurant by Chef Josh Boutwood) as well as the widely-popular, Italianni’s.
Another international brand that is in the offing is Olive Garden, a popular restaurant chain in the US serving Italian-inspired dishes. It will have a branch at Glorietta 3.
The Bistro Group also proudly supports its corporate executive chef, Josh Boutwood. This April, his new concept called Ember, will open at Greenbelt 3. A sophisticated and chic restaurant with high emphasis on amazing ingredients and a more delicate cooking method, Ember cooks with what is left glowing from the flame. Hence, the name Ember. This is Boutwood’s first foray into a mainstream, high-traffic mall and he is very excited over this prospect.
Manuud likewise shared that plans are afoot for the expansion of Bistro’s existing brands, including Modern Shanghai at UPTC, Greenbelt, and Glorietta 3; TGIFridays at UPTC; Fish & Co. at UPTC and Glorietta 3; Watami at Glorietta 3; and El Pollo Loco at Greenbelt, ATC, UPTC, Ayala 30th, and Trinoma.
“One of the biggest lessons we learned when the pandemic hit the world was that we had to be nimble in adapting to ensuing challenges. We reinforced our commitment to resiliency, pivoting to new strategies like solidifying our delivery scheme with our own Bistro Delivers app and website. We also implemented stricter guidelines for a safe dine-in experience,” Manuud explained.
“The situation now is significantly different from last year’s when we felt the gloom of the pandemic hovering over us. We have not totally changed our expansion plans to bring in more concepts, we just postponed them. We are hopeful that the present scenario of optimism will prevail,” he ended.