Belfast Telegraph

Yangtze's four local noodle restaurants are picked up by Chopstix for undisclosed sum

By Margaret Canning

Four noodle restaurants in Northern Ireland have been snapped up by a rival chain for an undisclosed sum.

Yangtze restaurants located in shopping centres around the province have been swallowed up by the Chopstix Group, which owns 75 noodle bars in the UK and Ireland.

Yangtze, which was owned by Belfast-based The Wok Ltd, was set up in 2006 and has nine units, including CastleCourt and Connswater Shopping Centre, Belfast, AbbeyCentre in Newtownabbey and Foyleside in Derry.

The purchaser was advised by property firm GVA NI.

A spokeswoman confirmed that 70 staff who are employed in the four Yangtze venues will be transferred to Chopstix Group.

Wok Ltd directors Kwai Choi Pang and Chui Wah Yuen have now resigned.

But the restaurants will still be called Yangtze, the spokeswoman confirmed.

Chopstix Group, which was founded in 2001, operates five company-owned outlets and five franchised restaurants in Northern Ireland. The acquisition means it will have nine company-owned restaurants in the province.

Liam McAuley, associate director at GVA NI, said: "We have been working closely with Chopstix for a number of years, and last year helped the brand secure its fifth Northern Ireland location at Fairhill Shopping Centre, Ballymena.

"Our role within this particular acquisition was to ensure a cost-effective and beneficial deal for both parties and we look forward to helping the Chopstix Group expand their network further within the UK and Ireland," he added.

Chopstix Group director Sam Elia said: "We have been keen to extend our restaurant interests in the 'food to go' sector for a number of years.

"However, we were prepared to wait until the right proposition presented itself," he commented.

"With this acquisition, we are pleased to add a second premium brand to our portfolio, and fully intend to maximise the potential of both Chopstix and Yangtze in the months and years ahead."

Menashe Sadik, also a director of Chopstix, said it would consider further acquisitions in future and would not limit itself to the Oriental sector.

The company recently opened up in Manchester's Arndale Shopping Centre.

It has also opened up at an Emo Express fuel forecourt at Belfast International Airport.

It has also taken over Yangtze's branches in England, which are located in Birmingham's Merryhill Centre, Broadway Centre in Bradford, Intu's shopping centre in Derby and in Meadowhall Centre in Sheffield.

Chopstix said its outlets had doubled in number over the last 18 months.

Belfast Telegraph

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