Japanese fast-casual teppanyaki restaurant Pepper Lunch is set to expand in North America through its first location in Phoenix.
Taking sizzling to the Southwest: Known for its experiential teppanyaki-style dining, Pepper Lunch originated in Japan nearly 30 years ago and now boasts over 500 locations across 15 countries. The restaurant already has a few U.S. locations, but the planned expansion will be the first of such scale in North America.
Pepper Lunch will introduce Phoenix to its menu featuring dishes like pepper rice, teriyaki, steak, curry and seafood. These are served on a hot iron plate and cooked right at the table.
Expansion plans: B.I.D. Investment Group has inked a deal to develop 10 Pepper Lunch locations in metro Phoenix over the next five years. The first restaurant is slated to open in the third quarter of 2024, with plans for a total of eight branches in metro Phoenix and two more in other parts of Arizona.
Troy Hooper, the founder and CEO of Los Angeles-based Kiwi Restaurant Partners, has taken on the role of CEO at Pepper Lunch to lead their U.S. operations. Franchisees, who are expected
to invest approximately $800,000, are aiming to open their first store within a year and a second store in the subsequent year, according to Hooper.
The company is currently eyeing locations
in the Gilbert/Chandler growth area and the Scottsdale Promenade area. Efforts are also underway to secure a spot near the upcoming Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.’s plant in north Phoenix.
Beyond the Southwest: Following the Phoenix expansion, Pepper Lunch will take on Florida, with a franchise agreement set in the Tampa/Orlando/Gainesville area for 10 stores over six years. The company is planning at least 40 store commitments across multiple states by the year’s end.