MK Restaurants Co expects to more than double its number of outlets to 1,000 in five years despite fierce competition from new eateries.
Each new MK Suki branch costs about 10 million baht.
President Somchai Hanjitkasem said the company plans to open 40 MK Suki restaurants and 20 Yayoi Japanese restaurants in the next three years.
Each MK Suki branch costs 10 million baht, while Yayoi outlets cost 8 million apiece. The company may also open more Le Siam branches.
Total investment each year is expected to be about 500 million baht.
While MK did not disclose exactly the number of new restaurants to be opened by 2018, Mr Somchai is confident the total will reach 1,000.
It currently has more than 400 restaurants in its portfolio.
Mr Somchai said the company will list on the Stock Exchange of Thailand on Aug 8 and raise funds to build a new head office costing 320 million baht and a new central kitchen worth 850 million baht in Bangkok's Bang Na district.
Both will be opened this year to facilitate expansion.
MK continues to invest in international markets through joint ventures and franchise schemes.
It plans to open an MK Suki restaurant in Jakarta next month, as Indonesians and Thais both enjoy shopping in big malls.
In Indonesia, MK will expand its business on a franchise basis.
The company has expanded its sukiyaki restaurant chain internationally for several years through partner Plenus Co, owner of the Yayoi brand in Japan. It also has 35 MK Suki outlets in Japan.
It teamed up with Plenus to set up a new 50:50 joint venture, Plenus MK Singapore, to operate the MK Suki restaurant chain in Singapore two weeks ago.
"The response from Singaporean customers was better than expected, with long queues at our restaurant," Mr Somchai said.
He said there is huge potential for expanding MK's food business in Asean.
The company must conduct feasibility studies regarding laws and consumer behaviour in each country due to different eating cultures.
It launched an MK Suki restaurant in Vietnam last year.
Performance has been satisfactory, but the company faces limitations on opening new outlets there since Vietnam has only a small number of retail projects.
Mr Somchai said even though the Thai economy seems to be slowing, which is affecting the purchasing power of the middle class, first-half sales of MK Suki have the potential to show 10% growth.
"Though the world economic slowdown will partly affect the Thai economy, I don't have any concerns about our restaurant business, as we offer various foods to reduce business risks," he added.
About the author
- Writer: Pitsinee Jitpleecheep
Position: Business Reporter