Oishi Group Plc, the operator of Shabushi restaurant chain, has adjusted the business model for its shabu-shabu (Japanese hot pot) eateries in a bid to win a bigger slice of the 400-billion-baht food industry.
Paisarn Aowsathaporn, executive vice-president for food, said the company recently introduced three new Shabushi restaurant formats: hybrid, light and price tier.
Shabushi Hybrid will offer buffets featuring a belt and a la carte menu, while Shabushi Light will offer shabu-shabu fare in second-tier provinces. Meanwhile, Shabushi Price Tier is designed as a premium buffet available only at high-end retail complexes and tourist destinations.
The company expects to open 11 new restaurants under the three concepts in fiscal 2019, starting Oct 1, 2019.
The size of all restaurant concepts has been scaled down by half to 150 square metres from 300-350 sq m to reduce investment costs, speed up expansion, increase profit per sq m and facilitate sustainable growth amid fierce competition, he said.
Apart from the new concepts, the company aims to boost its sales growth by adding new menu items and extending service hours at certain outlets.
The company opened the first "Shabushi 24-Hour Service" restaurant at Samyan Mitrtown. It is intended to accommodate the new generation that is flexible about when it eats.
"Younger customers prefer a lifestyle that is flexible, well-rounded and unconventional. They are unwilling to follow a routine that is bound by time. They could be active either early in the morning or late at night. There is no longer a set of rules to follow," said Mr Paisarn.
"The new lifestyle trend of urban dwellers is staying up all night. This sleepless society has affected every business segment, particularly the food business.
"Hunger arises anytime and waits for no one. We see this trend as rising and we intend to capitalise on this business opportunity, offering around-the-clock service."
Shabushi at Samyan Mitrtown is its 149th branch and the first offering around-the-clock service.
It offers customers two rounds, running from 10am to 10pm for 419 baht, and another round from 10.01pm to 9.59am for 319 baht.
At Samyan Mitrtown, the promotion price is set at 299 baht for the night round from 10.01pm to 9.59am, until Dec 31.
Thailand's food business was valued at 400 billion baht last year.
Of the total, hot pot accounts for 19 billion baht, fried chicken represents 18.7 billion baht and the remainder belongs to others.
The company reported sales of its food business in the first nine months of fiscal 2018, ending June 30, 2019, grew by 11% to 5.37 billion baht, 60% of which came from Shabushi restaurants.
Mr Paisarn attributed the sales growth to the company's three marketing strategies: driving organic growth focused on value creation for products and services; driving operational excellence that focuses on work process improvement to increase efficiency and satisfy customer needs; and store expansion focused on reaching out to new markets.
Oishi spent 500 million baht to expand its business in fiscal 2018 and plans to spend the same amount in fiscal 2019, ending Sept 30, 2020.
OISHI shares closed yesterday on the SET at 107 baht, down two baht, in trade worth 1.27 million baht.