Coca International, operator of the sukiyaki restaurants, will take its Mango Tree Thai-restaurant chain to the US in 2014.
The US economic downturn has lowered the investment cost of expanding into that country to where now is the right time, says Mr Pitaya.
Chief executive Pitaya Phanphensophon said the US economic downturn has lowered the investment cost.
Coca will form a joint venture with a local partner to operate Mango Tree restaurants in that country, he said.
At the same time, it will introduce that partner's Mexican food franchise in Thailand.
The first Mango Tree in the US will open in Washington DC covering 500 square metres and at a cost of 60 million baht.
Coca has been in the Thai restaurant business for 29 years.
It now has five food brands _ Coca Suki, China White, Mango Tree, Mango Tree Bistro and Coca Grill.
The company branched out to international markets starting in London 12 years ago, first with a Mango Tree restaurant near Buckingham Palace and another in Harrods Department Store.
Last year, the company operated 440 restaurants of all brands, both at home and abroad.
International locations are Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong.
This year, it will spend 68 million baht to open new outlets both locally and internationally and renovate some existing Coca restaurants.
As well, it will spend 15 million baht to introduce Mango Tree @ Bencharong, providing Thai cuisine to cruise customers on the Chao Phraya River early next month. Two cruises will depart each evening, at 6.30pm and 8.30pm, each one accommodating 40 diners.
The company's international focus has been mainly on Japan, but with that country's economy slowing, it will pay more attention to the Philippines this year.
It now has three restaurants in the Philippines and will open seven more this year.
All of Coca's food brands enjoyed healthy business last year despite heavy competition, particularly from Korean grilled food and buffet restaurants.
The company opened its first Coca Grill restaurant in 2012, at Tesco Lotus in Chon Buri's Ban Bung district, and a second one in Tesco Lotus Bang Na in Bangkok.
The company also opened a Coca Suki restaurant in the renovated Siam Center last Friday.
It expects sales growth of 30% to 600 million baht from existing outlets this year.
About the author
- Writer: Pitsinee Jitpleecheep
Position: Business Reporter