Paul prepares to take out Starbucks via coffee lovers

Paul prepares to take out Starbucks via coffee lovers

Ms Vitchuda says travellers are familiar with Paul. (Photo by Pitsinee Jitpleecheep)
Ms Vitchuda says travellers are familiar with Paul. (Photo by Pitsinee Jitpleecheep)

French bakery and restaurant chain Paul is ramping up its bakery and cafe business, aiming to challenge US coffee chain Starbucks.

Vitchuda Sukeewattanamongkol, general manager of Bakehouse Co under Charoen Pokphand (CP) Group, which operates Paul bakeries in Thailand and the CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam) bloc, said the company aims to roll out Paul across the CLMV soon after recently opening its first bakery and cafe called Paul Le Cafe at Iconsiam mall.

"The bakery and cafe market is saturated in Thailand, while local consumers have developed a thirst for coffee, especially freshly brewed coffee," Ms Vitchuda said. "More importantly, Thailand is a global tourist destination and travellers are familiar with Paul."

She said the company believes the coffee business to be a rising star, citing forecasts of the Asian Coffee Federation and the Barista Association of Thailand that the growth of Thailand's coffee market is set to double over the next five years.

The premium coffee segment is also expected to double in size, while the mass coffee market is forecast to grow by 2-3 times.

Thailand's coffee market is estimated to be worth 36 billion baht.

Ms Vitchuda said the company plans to spend 50 million baht to open 10 Paul Le Cafe branches in Thailand over the next five years.

Of the total, perhaps three branches will open next year in densely populated areas, especially near MRT stations, she said.

Paul operates in over 35 countries worldwide, totalling more than 500 shops.

Bakehouse was awarded the right to operate Paul in Thailand and the CLMV nations in 2014. It runs nine Paul bakeries and restaurants in Bangkok and one in Vietnam.

Bakehouse recorded sales of 265 million baht in 2018 and expects to increase the figure to 300 million baht this year and to 500 million baht within five years.

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