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‘Upin & Ipin’-themed Restaurants to Open in Malaysia with International Expansion Plans

In a groundbreaking collaboration that unites culinary innovation with iconic Malaysian intellectual property, TMG Ventures (TMGV) proudly announces its partnership with Les’ Copaque Productions to bring the iconic ‘Upin & Ipin’ brand to life through an immersive themed-restaurant experience in the Klang Valley starting with Kuala Lumpur.

“Teaming up with Les’ Copaque Productions to introduce the ‘Upin & Ipin’-themed restaurant is an honour and a momentous occasion,” remarked Suhazlee bin Othman, executive director of TMGV.

“This partnership not only celebrates an iconic Malaysian brand but will also establish a unique dining destination for ‘Upin & Ipin’ enthusiasts, foodies, and families. We are excited to explore new horizons for the ‘Upin & Ipin’ brand in Southeast Asia and beyond,” continued Suhazlee.

Team TMG Ventures with Team Les’ Copaque at the latter’s headquarters in Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia. Hj. Burhanuddin Mohd Radzi, the managing director of Les’ Copaque, in the middle, with Suhazlee bin Othman, executive director of TMG Ventures, next to him in black. | Photo by TMG Ventures/NHA File Photo

Les’ Copaque Productions, the visionary powerhouse behind the endearing ‘Upin & Ipin’ animation series, boasts a legacy of delivering top-tier 3D animations that resonate universally. Over the last 16 years and through 17 seasons, twin brothers Upin and Ipin have stolen hearts with their innocence, humour, and profound life lessons.

With a social media presence numbering in the millions (10 million YouTube subscribers, 14.3 million Facebook followers), ‘Upin & Ipin’ have grown a massive fan base both domestically and overseas. Furthermore, the show ranks regularly among the Top 10 Most Watched shows on Netflix Kids and other streaming services.

“TMG Ventures is a kindred spirit, sharing our passion for crafting extraordinary experiences,” shared Haji Burhanuddin Md. Radzi, managing director of Les’ Copaque Productions.

“The Upin & Ipin brand champions community, diversity, and family, and our collaboration with TMG Ventures will bring these values into the culinary scene. Together, we aim to create a fun dining experience that serves up quality food while capturing the essence of Upin & Ipin,” added Haji Burhanuddin.

While the local Malaysian audience for ‘Upin & Ipin’ is by no means modest, its popularity in Indonesia is further indication of its appeal with the series being broadcast on the national channel, MNCTV Indonesia, for five hours per day. Additionally, the show has also aired in Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, Thailand, India, and even Canada. Given this extensive international appeal, expansion to foreign markets is part of the grand plan for this restaurant concept.

With conversations for the first ‘Upin & Ipin’-themed restaurant taking place with landlords in the Klang Valley, this venture promises to be a space where entertainment and dining converge, providing families, enthusiasts, and fans a chance to enjoy various international cuisines while experiencing the world of ‘Upin & Ipin’. The culinary offerings on the menu will be the product of a close collaboration between TMG Ventures’ seasoned F&B team and Les’ Copaque Productions.

TMG Ventures (TMGV) is the owner of multiple food and beverage (F&B) brands with locations all over the Klang Valley including its flagship The Majapahit Restaurant at Mont Kiara with its innovative and refined take on Southeast Asian cuisine. Other brands created by TMGV include nasi padang brand, Warung Padang; Indonesian penyet specialists, Penyet Jakarta; and fast-casual Southeast Asian dining brands Gajah Mada and Rasa Nusantara. The group has also acquired a number of western brands such as Mikey’s Original New York Pizza, NY Burger Co. and the Las Vegas-born Tail & Fin.

Strategic Pernas-TMGV Partnership Offers New F&B Franchise Opportunity

TMG Ventures’ recent acquisition of Mikey’s Original New York Pizza, known as ‘The Home of the 18” Pizzas’ and serving quality New York style pizza by the slice; and NY Burger Co, a brand offering wholesome, authentic and hearty New York burgers, is set to boost the local food and beverage (F&B) franchise industry by opening up affordable franchise opportunities.

The acquisition of these two American-inspired brands by TMG Ventures (TMGV), Asia Pacific’s pioneer F&B merger and acquisition company, comes on the heels of a strategic partnership with Perbadanan Nasional Bhd (Pernas), a company owned by the Ministry of Finance Incorporated, to further catalyse the growth of Malaysia’s F&B and franchise industry and to help local brands tap into the Asia Pacific F&B eating-out industry. The Pernas partnership was entered into with FBE Ventures, the holding company of TMGV.

Michael Helfman, founder of Mikey’s Pizza & NY Burger Co (middle); with Manichel Subra (left), Exec Director, and Dato Sri Subahan Kamal (right), Executive Chairman, of TMGV

Dato’ Sri Subahan Kamal, Executive Chairman of TMGV said, “The acquisition of Mikey’s Original New York Pizza and NY Burger Co is among the first successful outcomes of our partnership with Pernas to catapult homegrown ‘franchisable’ brands with good growth potential to greater success. By creating Malaysian franchises with global standards, we aim to elevate these brands towards a regional and international audience.”

Prior to this, TMGV successfully acquired brands such as The Majapahit, a highly regarded fine-casual restaurant that serves pan Southeast Asian cuisines; Tail & Fin, a Las Vegas-born fast-casual Japanese fusion restaurant; and Wings of the World, which serves chicken wings tossed with flavours from around the world.

From left to right: Michael Helfman, founder of Mikey’s Pizza & NY Burger Co; with Dato Sri Subahan Kamal, Executive Chairman, and Manichel Subra, Exec Director, of TMGV

In addition to escalating the acquired brands into franchises, TMGV also has a working relationship with ZING, a food and technology company that is rapidly scaling its innovative digital foodhall concept in Southeast Asia; this standing arrangement provides an immediate seamless expansionary plan for any brand under the ambit of TMGV.

Both Mikey’s Original New York Pizza and NY Burger Co are the brainchild of native New Yorker, Michael Helfman, who in 2013 was inspired to bring the ‘New York slice’ to Kuala Lumpur with the help of famous and passionate New York Pizza Chef, Andrew Bellucci, who incidentally, built his own pizza oven here, and operated on the premise of making the best New York pizzas with the finest ingredients available. Together with the introduction of their second brand, NY Burger Co, the duo extended the best of New York food heritage to consumers via its current full scale outlets in 1 Mont Kiara, Plaza Batai and Citta Mall in the Klang Valley. Additionally, both brands have 10 other outlets each, which were expanded via the ZING platform.

Michael Helfman, founder of Mikey’s Pizza & NY Burger Co (middle); with Manichel Subra (left), Exec Director, and Dato Sri Subahan Kamal (right), Executive Chairman, of TMGV

Speaking for the two brands, Michael Helfman said, “The acquisition by TMGV gives our brands a distinct advantage as we are now part of a larger F&B group. We are excited to experience how TMGV’s dynamic business model can drive our brands to greater success.” As the deal was completed with a combination of cash and shares, Michael Helfman will stay on as shareholder and advisor to the group.

Manichel Subra, Executive Director of TMGV, added that the company welcomes interested franchisees to explore this unique and result-driven opportunity. “We have intentionally positioned an affordable franchise investment plan to help address the current business climate. Our low-entry yet profitable business opportunity also addresses the conventional expansion and growth issues faced by brands. Our business model is also very much in line with the Malaysian government’s pro-franchise policy that aims to establish the nation as the franchise hub for ASEAN.”(1)

According to the Franchise Business Annual Report, the sales value of franchise companies increased by 9.7% to RM14.6 billion in 2020 from RM13.3 billion in 2019.(2) In 2018, total sales stood at RM11.16 billion.(1)