The chief of Sakae Holdings, Mr Douglas Foo, is set to advise mainland Chinese companies about a possible listing in Singapore.
This comes after a unit of Sakae had just signed a deal to work with an India-listed corporate finance firm as the company moves into higher gear to bring more than sushi to its table.
Just two weeks ago, the company, known for its conveyor-belt sushi in 10 countries, announced that it was diversifying into corporate advisory work and had landed Singapore's Q&M Dental Group as its first client. It announced its second client yesterday - precision engineering company Giken Sakata.
"We are helping companies like Q&M to brand themselves onto a global stage," Mr Foo, Sakae's founder and executive chairman, told The Straits Times in a phone interview yesterday.
Sakae Corporate Advisory, wholly owned by the mainboard-listed company, has also started talking to overseas firms. Mr Foo is slated to land in Hong Kong today for meetings with several Chinese firms, including those involved in infrastructure works and retail consumer, to explore a possible Singapore listing.
"They are growing and looking out of their region" with an eye on opportunities in the fast-growing ASEAN region, he said.
Sakae, with more than 200 restaurants in Singapore and nine other countries, is keen to grow into a 30,000-outlet business like McDonald's or Starbucks.
The advisory work is its "fourth pillar" in its strategy to fund the expansion, he said. Its other "pillars" are developing further its capabilities in human capital, sustainable food resources and real estate management.
Sakae Corporate Advisory last week signed a memorandum of agreement with Religare Capital Markets Corporate Finance. The partners are looking to assist firms from such countries as France, Germany and Britain to have dual listings in Singapore.
"We are talking to companies that we can bring in to Singapore, as SGX (Singapore Exchange) has an initiative of dual-listing for 23 developed countries. We thought this is a good opportunity," Mr Foo said.
Religare, listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange and India's National Stock Exchange, has more than 6,000 employees, manages global assets of about US$20 billion (S$26.6 billion) and provides health insurance to 4,000 hospitals. As an experienced player, Religare was picked so that Sakae would not have to "re-invent the wheel", Mr Foo said.
Sakae is also looking to set up investment and fund management work, with the managed funds not exceeding $250 million.
Doing advisory work will not dilute Sakae's focus on the food business, Mr Foo said, as the company has a capable management team led by its chief executive Lilian Foo, who is his sister.
He joked that in 2012 and 2013 when he took about two months out each time, he was pleasantly surprised that he did not receive a single call or e-mail from the company to ask for his advice.