2012/12/21             Focus Taiwan          By Hsu Hsiang-hsin and Maia Hua

 Taipei, Dec. 21 (CNA) Gourmet Master Co. Ltd., operator of the 85 Degree C cafe chain in Taiwan and China, said Friday that it plans to further expand its business in the United States by opening four more stores, one each quarter, in 2013.

    Gourmet Master, which opened its third U.S. bakery cafe shop in West Covina, California, on Dec. 19, said the revenue from the four new stores it will open could reach between NT$900 million (US$30.96 million) to NT$1 billion in 2013.

    It opened its first U.S. coffee shop in 2008 in Irvine, California and that cafe has generated annual sales of NT$200 million, which was seven times higher than the average revenue from its outlets in China, the chain said.

    Following the success of the first store, Gourmet Master opened a second cafe in 2011 in Hacienda Heights, which was only around 30 minutes' drive from the first shop, the company said.

    Sales at the new store was as impressive as that of the first store, it said.

    Despite it being a foreign company, the service provided by the company's cafes have gained wide acceptance among customers of all races in the U.S., it said.

    An increasing number of non-Asian customers are frequenting the cafes, with the percentage of non-Asians rising from 20 percent in 2008 to 40 percent in 2012.

    Asian customers meanwhile accounted for 80 percent and 60 percent of the total clientele in 2008 and 2012 respectively, the company said.