Zen adds Chinese eateries to roster

Zen adds Chinese eateries to roster

Mr Boonyong, right, shakes hands with Yuta Ogisu, chief executive of Food Buddies Co, at the grand opening of Din's, the 16th restaurant brand under Zen Corporation.
Mr Boonyong, right, shakes hands with Yuta Ogisu, chief executive of Food Buddies Co, at the grand opening of Din's, the 16th restaurant brand under Zen Corporation.

Zen Corporation Group Plc, the operator of Zen, AKA and Tummour restaurants, has branched out into Chinese eateries to strengthen its business.

Last year the company acquired the master franchisee licence of Din's, a trendy Chinese restaurant, in Thailand under a 10-year contract from Food Buddies Co, the owner.

The company also has the rights to open Din's in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

The first branch of Din's, worth an investment cost of 6 million baht, was opened at Samyan Mitrtown last month.

Boonyong Tansakul, the chief executive of Zen, said the company aims to open about 8-10 new Din's restaurants through its own investment this year.

Around 20 restaurants will be opened during 2021-2022 via the franchise model, he said.

Din's is the 16th restaurant brand under Zen Corporation, with the latest addition reinforcing its ability to cater to customers' demand for a variety of cuisines such as Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese and Chinese fare, said Mr Boonyong.

"Din's reported a very good response from customers in its first month of operation in Bangkok," he said.

"Din's fits with the economic environment. It has simple dishes that can satisfy the demand of consumers at all levels with over 50 items on its menu, with xiao long bao its signature dish. The prices are affordable."

Mr Boonyong said the company has adjusted some dishes, the store design and decor to suit local customers' tastes.

"Chinese food is popular with Thais," he said.

"In addition, the Chinese fast food market is as huge, worth 20-30 billion baht per year, and demand continues to grow."

Zen regularly focuses on developing its own brand via its own investment.

Din's is the first brand for which the company acquired the franchise licence from an overseas owner.

"We will focus on expanding our food service for the mass market, trying to develop dishes that have low cost in order to reach all customer groups," said Mr Boonyong.

"More technology will be used at stores for efficient management and to reduce costs.

"By pursuing these strategies, we will survive amid fierce competition."

He said the coronavirus is unlikely to affect its food business because the company has branches across the country, not only in tourist destinations.

Mr Boonyong said 101 restaurants under all brands were opened last year under its own investment and via the franchising system.

The company expects to open around 240 restaurants via all brands this year.

Of the total 240 restaurants, about 40 will be under its own investment, with the remainder franchises.

As of the end of 2019, Zen Corp operated 345 restaurants, 174 under its own investment and the rest franchises: 161 in Thailand, five in Myanmar, three in Cambodia and two in Laos.

Zen expects its sales to grow by 10% this year boosted by a higher number of branches.

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