There’s been a lot of talk in Taiwan about the opening of California Pizza Kitchen. The buzz of a new restaurant is generally a common thing here; however, store closings are just as popular. Can CPK really ‘make it’ in the high-profile Taipei 101 area? They certainly have a lot to compete with. For starters, pizza delivery is extremely fast here in Taiwan via Pizza Hut and Domino’s fine-tuned processes. There are also plenty of casual dining and high-end restaurants in the area. The most notable successful competitor in the area that comes to mind would be Gordon Biersch. Rent is definitely extremely high in this central business district. Maybe this is the reason why Macaroni Grill moved out of the neighborhood. Chili’s, however, has been a mainstay for many years.
Other questions are fresh on the brain too. Will CPK stick with its standard menu or will it try to innovate dishes to ‘follow’ market leaders like Pizza Hut and adapt to the local culture by putting things like squid, cuttlefish, peas, carrots, and corn on pizzas? The other question is…Can CPK really compete by using the high-traffic location advantage versus winning over customers with excellent tasting pizzas like those of Alleycats? Lastly, can CPK rely on Quanta Foods and other partners to truly expand in Asia past China’s Shanghai and into other booming markets like Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam? Time will tell. What are your thoughts?