Pillsbury acquires Quik Wok

Pillsbury acquires Quik Wok – Chinese fast food restaurant

Mark Schoifet

Pillsbury acquires Quik Wok

Pillsbury has jumped into the growing Chinese fast-food segment with the purchase of nine-unit equik Wok, a privately held chain based in San Antonio. Terms were not disclosed.

Burger King, Pillsbury’s largest restaurant division, will manage the chain. Quik Wok posted sales of $4 million in 1984, with 60% derived from carryout and drive-thru.

“We’ve been looking for the right opportunity to diversify within the fast-food industry,’ said J. Jeffrey Campbell, Burger King chairman and chief executive. “Quik Wok provides us with an exciting entry into the ethnic-food business–a business we feel has substantial consumer appeal and growth potential.’

Quik Wok operates eight units in San Antonio and one in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. In addition to Burger King, Pillsbury owns S & A Restaurant Corp.–which operates Bennigan’s, Steak & Ale, and J. J. Muggs–and Haagen-Dazs Shoppes.

The acquisition follows General Mills’ purchase of Leann Chin, a four-unit chain of buffet and take-out restaurants in the Twin Cities area. Many experts predict the Chiese restaurant category, now dominated by family-run operations, will be the next chain battleground.

Other key players in the segment include Nankin Express of Eden Prairie, Minn.; Eggroll Express of Tulsa, and Xian of Westmont, Ill., in which former Diversifoods president Donald N. Smith owns a 10% interest.

Quik Wok was founded in 1980 by Connie Andrews, president and chief executive, and Kenneth Lau, chief operating officer. Neil Ostman, vice president and controller, rounds out the management team.

The chain evolved from Golden Wok, a three-unit fullservice Chinese dinnerhouse operation started by Andrews 13 years ago in San Antonio. Eight years later she and Lau, then her employee, opened the first Golden Wok fast-food offshoot. Lau, who was raised in China and trained in Hong Kong, began as a chef and brought to Quik Wok a firsthand knowledge of Chinese cuisine.

Photo: Burger King is slated to manage the nine-unit Quik Wok fast-food chain.

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