Ono Hawaiian BBQ brings island cuisine to Glendora

Ono Hawaiian BBQ brings island cuisine to Glendora

Read the original article at San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Ono Hawaiian BBQ, a restaurant chain that specializes in fusion Hawaiian foods, has expanded its Southern California footprint with a new location in Glendora.

The restaurant, at 1377 E. Gladstone St., Suite 106, is the company’s 68th location. Based in Diamond Bar, Ono Hawaiian operates restaurants throughout California and Arizona with local eateries in such cities as Mission Hills, Van Nuys, Pasadena, Temple City, Pomona, Upland, Fontana, Torrance and Fullerton. Additional Northern California locations can be found in San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco.

Customer demand

Glendora was an easy choice for the newest spot, according to Christine Jan, Ono Hawaiian’s marketing manager.

“There’s a demand for this kind of food in the area and a many of our customers have been requesting a store in Glendora,” she said. “A lot of them have been going to our Upland location. That’s about a 20-minute drive.”

The fast-casual restaurant’s core menu features Hawaiian-inspired plate lunches and island specialties, such as Hawaiian BBQ chicken, Spam musubi and chicken katsu. The dishes are marinated, prepared in-house and grilled to order. The company creates its sauces from scratch.

The interior of the Glendora restaurant, which opened Friday, incorporates an industrial chic feel inspired by Hawaii’s rustic elements, including reclaimed wood walls, rope lighting, aqua tiles and tropical planters.

Jan said Ono Hawaiian has multiple locations in the San Gabriel Valley because brothers Joe and Joshua Liang, who own the business, grew up in the area. The company is celebrating 15 years in operation.

More locations on the way

“Our next Southern California stores will be in Inglewood and Victorville, but we’ll also be expanding into the Central Valley with locations in Bakersfield and Fresno,” she said. “And later on we’re planning to open a restaurant in Sacramento.”

The Glendora location employs 15 to 20 workers and Ono Hawaiian has about 1,200 employees companywide.

Sharokina Shams, a spokeswoman with the California Restaurant Association, said the company’s expansion is good news.

“These days, we don’t hear of much growth among traditional, full-service restaurants with their large footprints, high labor costs and razor-thin profit margins, Shams said via email. “The growth that we do see appears more often in limited-service sectors. Luckily, many customers are looking for a great meal fast and Ono Hawaiian BBQ certainly fits that description.”

Big business

One thing is certain — the restaurant industry is big business.

The National Restaurant Association projected that restaurant-industry sales would reach nearly $799 billion by the end of 2017, a 4.3 percent increase from the previous year. Broken down, that equates to $263 billion (3.5 percent growth) for full-service establishments and $234 billion (5.3 percent growth) for fast-casual restaurants.

Unemployment levels and disposable income among consumers is expected to remain about the same this year, however, so the association is predicting that sales will remain flat for 2018. Still, there are more than 1 million restaurants scattered across the U.S. that employ 14.7 million people. That accounts for 10 percent of the nation’s overall workforce.

The industry group predicts that 1.6 million new restaurant jobs will be created by 2027.

About Ono Hawaiian BBQ

Ono Hawaiian BBQ is a fast casual restaurant concept with locations in California and Arizona, serving up “aloha in every bite” through their Hawaiian-inspired plate lunches and island specialties. Every Ono Hawaiian BBQ dish is created with fresh ingredients using authentic Hawaiian recipes, and made-to-order in each restaurant. Ono Hawaiian BBQ operates 65 restaurants throughout their two states of operation, with plans to open more in 2017.