Four friends who met as international students at Australia’s Monash University in the mid 1990s are getting rich from Korean fried chicken.
Jun Lee, Roi Yoon, Max Ji and Ayden Jung are the founders of Gami Chicken & Beer, a chain of eateries that has brought the Korean fried chicken craze to Australia.
The chain is on track to make over A$24 million in revenue in 2018. That’s likely to grow to over A$40 million in 2019. The founders aim to have over 45 stores across Australia by 2020.
It’s been quite a ride for the founding friends. As newly arrived Korean international students at Monash Uni back in the 90s, they agreed over a few beers to go into business together when the time was right.
When they met again to narrow down their business idea, they thought about Korean barbecue but decided against it because the market was already flooded. Korean fried chicken was the winning concept because it had been around in Korea for ages, but they guessed it would be a unique concept in Australia.
Turns out they were right.
The group used their own savings to launch their first restaurant in Melbourne and relied on word of mouth to attract customers.
They called it ‘Gami’ because it means ‘beautiful taste’ in Korean.
They opened another Melbourne store three years later, and a third in 2010.
Since then, the Korean fried chicken concept has come home to roost in Australia, with a range of competitors entering the market since Gami started.