Taokaenoi currying favour with Hinoya
Taokaenoi Restaurant & Franchise Co, the operator of Taokaenoi Land souvenir shop, has diversified into the restaurant business, opening Hinoya Curry, a Japanese curry rice shop, to offset business risk from the unpredictable nature of Chinese tourist arrivals.
Itthipat Peeradechapan, the company's chief executive, said it plans to open over 10 Hinoya Curry restaurants in Thailand in three years. The first Hinoya Curry restaurant outside Japan was opened on the third floor of The Market Bangkok complex on Ratchaprasong Road this February.
Each outlet requires an investment of 4-5 million baht, depending on the size, between 80-100 square metres.
The company plans to open the second branch of Hinoya Curry on the second floor of Cosmos Plaza, Muang Thong Thani, on May 29.
"We've seen the number of Chinese tourist arrivals fluctuate over the past few years. In the first quarter this year the figure dropped by about 10% year-on-year. We want to reduce risk for Taokaenoi Land by adding a restaurant business," Mr Itthipat said.
The company has the exclusive franchise licence to open Hinoya Curry shops in Thailand for three years.
"I often visit Japan and found Hinoya Curry by accident. Japanese curry rice is a popular dish in Thailand, but there is only one big brand -- Coco Ichibanya under Fuji Restaurant Group. I decided to bring Hinoya here," he said.
Hiura Masaru, owner and chef of Hinoya Curry, said the famous eatery originated in Yushima, Tokyo in 2011.
Hinoya won the "Kanda Curry Grand Prix 2013" contest, competing against more than 300 curry restaurants, to establish its reputation in Japan.
The market value for Japanese restaurants in Thailand was 22 billion baht in 2018, up by 15% over 2017.
Mr Itthipat expects sales of 400 million baht in 2019 for Taokaenoi Restaurant & Franchise Co, up from 280 million last year.
Of the total, about 90% will come from Taokaenoi souvenir shops, with the remaining 10% from Hinoya Curry restaurants.