FOOD AND BEVERAGE
Thailand's demand for lifestyle and food and beverage consumption is luring more international food and coffee chains to plant their flags here.
Mr Kaufman (left) and Mr Singh in front of the first store at Siam Paragon.
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, the US's second-largest coffee chain, recently opened its first outlet at Siam Paragon, while Domino's Pizza will re-enter the Thai market after taking a decade off. The first Domino's outlet is slated for year-end.
Almost 10 international food and beverage chains joined the recent franchise trade show in Bangkok to find Thai partners and franchisees to run their operations here.
Bob Kaufman, vice-president for business development of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, said the company is interested in expanding its business in Thailand, but it is hard to find the right partners.
The company just granted the rights to Fico Corporation to operate The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in Thailand.
"There is huge market potential in Thailand, which is a hub for shopping and fashion," he said.
Thailand's gourmet coffee market is valued at 6.4 billion baht, with annual growth of over 10%. Thais drink 130-150 cups of coffee per year, compared to 500 for Japanese and 700 cups for Americans. About 30% of Thais drink coffee on a regular basis, or seven to eight cups a week. Some 75% of coffee-drinkers consume five cups a week outside the home.
Though Thailand has many coffee brands, Mr Kaufman said the market still has room to grow.
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf brand has been established worldwide for nearly 50 years. There are 875 The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf stores in 24 countries, with 300 in the US and 520 in Asia. The chain plans to double its size in Asia over the next five years by opening at least new 100 stores per year.
Sanjay Singh, managing director of Fico Corporation Co, said it plans to open 75 The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf stores in Thailand over five years. Each will require an investment of 6-8 million baht, depending on the store size, from kiosk (20 square metres) to full-scale store (180 sq m). Each store will hire seven to 14 employees.
The first two outlets are at Siam Paragon and CentralWorld, with more planned for the Interchange 21 Building, Holiday Inn Sukhumvit 22 and Siam Centre soon.
Fico has extensive experience in hotel and retail businesses with a large portfolio of luxury retail, F&B, and hotel venues. Fico also owns popular restaurants in Bangkok including Iron Fairies, Fat Gut'z, Mr Jones Orphanage Milk Bar, and Clouds.
Mr Singh said Fico aims to gain revenue of 200 million baht this year and 1.5 billion over the next five years.
Fico also won the rights to operate Domino's Pizza in Thailand.
Mr Singh expects total food sales under Fico will reach 3.5-4 billion baht over the next five years.
All food brands and operations will be transferred to Evolution Capital Plc after a business restructuring this month. Fico holds a 34% share in Evolution Capital.
About the author
- Writer: Pitsinee Jitpleecheep
Position: Business Reporter