Written By Jessica Schultz
On every corner in Gwangju, you will find enticing food of all sorts. Among the top contenders are bibimbap, samgyeopsal, bulgogi, and tteokgalbi, but few own the hearts of Koreans like fried chicken. Fried chicken is arguably one of the most in-demand foods in Korea, and its popularity is only growing.
Chung Man Chicken is a testament to this. The franchise chain was born in 2009 from a love of experimentation and a desire to create a business with integrity. Fast forward to today and Chung Man Chicken already ranks 44th out of thousands of franchises in Korea. Gwangju News had the pleasure to hear this story from the CEO himself, Mr. Chung Man Park.
GWANGJU NEWS (GN): Tell us about Chung Man Chicken.
Chung Man Park (CM): Chung Man Chicken opened in Gwangju in 2009 and to date there are over 100 locations around the country. In 2011 I invented a unique recipe called “티꾸(ti-ggu),” which involves both frying and baking the chicken. The unique process of frying the chicken in oil, then baking it in the oven, reduces the oiliness. This patented cooking method for the company’s most popular item has helped diversify Chung Man Chicken from other franchises.
With a different offering than most, Chung Man Chicken strives to live by its slogan, “We do not copy, we only create” to serve chicken that leaves a lasting impression.
GN: Why did you choose foodservice? What was your prior experience?
CM: Growing up, I always cooked for my family and received glowing reviews, which spurred my interest in creating recipes that produce emotion. After high school I moved to the United States to become a doctor. To support myself, I spent most days working in various jobs, including foodservice. After five years I moved back and became a franchisee for a chicken company. I learned tremendously from the process of opening and running a chicken franchise location, but wanted to provide more value for my customers and employees. Using what I learned from my previous chicken business, I created a chicken business with integrity.
GN: How does Chung Man Chicken test recipes for new menu items?
CM: As the main product developer, I take feedback from both the franchisees and our young customers. I spend each day experimenting for better products, which I believe has helped make Chung Man Chicken so successful. My employees help with research and development through tasting my recipes. They must enjoy my chicken because many are gaining weight. I have built a gym in the building for them, but to no avail. They simply love eating chicken!
As I work with my employees to try new menu items and cooking methods, I obtain patents. Our company owns a multitude of patents in America, Australia and Korea at present.
GN: What does Chung Man Chicken expect for the future?
CM: When Chung Man Chicken opened I had high hopes, but could not have imagined the rapid expansion I have been fortunate enough to enjoy. Clients continue to request new locations throughout Korea and I anticipate expanding globally after we have fully established ourselves in Korea. While we are grateful and plan to continue opening new locations, we are in no rush. Currently we are focused on making sure all locations have the support they need and incoming franchisees share our vision and mission.
The priority for the near future is hiring a bigger support team for better communication and frequent visits to the franchisees. We will also begin advertising this year and continue working with our local headquarters to provide training and meetings on our brand offerings.
CEO Mr. Chung Man Park won the 2015 Best Devotion award for a franchise in Minju Newspaper’s competition for “Koreans who have brought honor to Korea.”