More Thai restaurant chains are planning a presence in other Asean countries to tap opportunities under the single market of the Asean Economic Community from 2016.
Vitoon Sila-On, a senior vice-president of S&P Syndicate Plc, operator of the S&P restaurant chain, said the company plans to open restaurants in neighbouring countries for the first time, with branches in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam starting next year.
The first branch will likely open in Aeon Mall in Phnom Penh with space of 200 square metres and an investment of 8-10 million baht.
The restaurant will serve both Thai and Western dishes as well as special dishes created specially for Cambodians.
"We chose Cambodia as the first country because it is quite familiar with Thailand," Mr Vitoon said.
S&P is talking with Myanmar partners about opportunities in that country.
"We believe our S&P restaurants will be opened in all Asean countries over the next five years," Mr Vitoon said.
He said apart from international markets, the company will also spend 150 million baht to open 50 new restaurants and coffee and bakery outlets this year.
The Oishi Group has set up Oishi International Co in Singapore as a hub to study food market opportunities in neighbouring countries.
"There are many Asean tourists visiting Thailand each year, so it's a good opportunity to branch out to Laos, Cambodia , Myanmar and Vietnam," said Paisarn Aowsathaporn, the executive vice-president for food.
But he said the company will keep its focus on the domestic market with plans to spend 600 million baht to open about 50 new restaurants this year.
Some 300 million baht will be spent to open 20 Shabushi Restaurants nationwide, taking the total number of branches to 88 by year-end.
Shabushi has enjoyed the highest growth of all Oishi's food brands.
"Last month's daily minimum wage hike to 300 baht nationwide is helping to spur food demand," Mr Paisarn said.
Oishi expects sales of its food business this year to achieve 7 billion baht, up from 5.4 billion last year.
Pravit Chitnarapong, the managing director of Black Canyon (Thailand), said the company plans to open a restaurant in Phnom Penh's Aeon Mall.
The number of foreign tourists travelling to Cambodia rises each year, and the Thai coffee brand is very popular among Cambodians, he said.
Black Canyon also wants to open its first restaurant in Vietnam.
It already has 44 branches in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Laos and Myanmar.
The company plans to open about five branches a year in Asean.
It will spend 100 million baht to open 20 outlets in Thailand this year, bringing the total to 260 by year-end.
About the author
- Writer: Pitsinee Jitpleecheep
Position: Business Reporter