Thai Beverage (ThaiBev), the Singapore-listed food and beverage company, has revved up transformation of its food business group to overcome the pandemic in an effort to become the market leader of the food chain in Thailand by 2025.
Nongnuch Buranasetkul, senior vice-president and chief of the food business, said to survive the pandemic the company changed strategy the past two years from marketing to operations and location.
Marketing teams were disassembled to reconsider the sector and mull new product development for its food business via three channels: dine-in, takeaway and delivery.
She said new restaurants will now be located outside malls in smaller sizes, with designs that respond to customer demand for dine-in, takeaway and delivery.
"The staff's mindset in doing business has changed to a sense of entrepreneurship or ownership, working smarter and seeking methods to recruit new customers to sustain profit. They must be ready to adapt to changing business situations," Mrs Nongnuch said.
She said the company will continue opening at least 15-20 new eateries a year between 2022 and 2025 via both existing and new models to serve customers demand.
"With rising fixed costs amid the prolonged pandemic, we will not invest as heavily as in the past, using a more flexible model with technology to enhance service in stores. We will rely less on people, upskilling them to work other jobs," Mrs Nongnuch said.
ThaiBev continued to open eateries during the pandemic, increasing its total to 649 in 2020 from 620 branches in 2019.
For its fiscal 2020, ending Sept 30, 2021, it opened 24 new restaurants, 90% of which are located outside shopping complexes.
The company operates 673 eateries.
Of the total, 378 are operated by The QSR of Asia Co, operator of KFC fast food branches, 255 by Oishi Food Group and the remaining 40 stores by Food of Asia Co.
ThaiBev has 23 food brands in its portfolio, including both franchisees and its own brands. They include KFC, Oishi, So asean, Cafe Chilli, Baan Suriyasai, Mx cake & bakery and Hyde & Seek restaurant.
Sales of the firm's food business tallied 11.7 billion baht in fiscal 2020, making up 6% of total revenue that topped 192 billion. This was a 1.1% increase from the previous fiscal year.
"With our strategies, we aim to become the leading food chain in Thailand by 2025, up from third now," she said.