CRG allots B1.46bn for expansion plan
Firm wants uptick in Vietnam outlets
published : 21 Mar 2023 at 06:49
newspaper section: Business
writer: Pitsinee Jitpleecheep
Emboldened by the full recovery of Thailand's restaurant industry, Central Restaurants Group (CRG), a leading chain operator, looks set to spend almost 1.5 billion baht to expand its food business this year.
Nath Vongphanich, president of CRG, said the company has a five-pronged growth strategy: accelerating growth potential, building new growth pillars, partnerships, productivity growth, and sustainable growth.
The company wants to open 150 new branches of its leading restaurant chains such as KFC, Auntie Anne's, Katsuya and Mister Donut.
The expansion will require an investment of 1 billion baht, said Mr Nath.
The remaining 465 million baht is allotted to expand CRG partnerships, such as Salad Factory, Brown, Shinkanzen Sushi and Nak-la Mookata.
In addition, the company plans to raise the potential of its 1,500 existing outlets nationwide by introducing new menu items to match consumer demand and keep up with market trends.
The goal is to drive same-store sales growth, he said.
Mr Nath said food consumption opportunities could be broadened by developing ready-to-eat meals, sauces and other condiments. These products encourage takeaway purchases, he said.
CRG wants to build a new growth pillar by acquiring at least one or two new brands for its portfolio.
Each new brand should have the potential for development into a more prominent brand, with strong performance and profitable growth, said Mr Nath.
For the overseas market, CRG will resume its expansion plan in Vietnam this year after shelving it since 2021 because of the pandemic, he said.
The company wants to expand its Thai and Isan-style eateries as well as Japanese food to Vietnam, its first foreign market, said Mr Nath.
He said CRG will implement productivity growth via a "3Cs" approach: cost, capital expenditure (capex) and cash flow.
Cost refers to expense management to achieve maximum efficiency, while capex focuses on effective investment in a strategic business. Cash flow covers efficient cash flow management to encourage hassle-free investment.
CRG is also committed to leveraging technology to improve restaurant operations, with pilot schemes already underway at some branches, said Mr Nath. These outlets adopted innovations such as QR code ordering and using robots in the dining area.
The company is using business intelligence tools to analyse customer insights to more precisely address their needs, he said.
Another addition is a system to serve plates on a rolling conveyor belt.
Sustainable development is a key strategy for CRG, said Mr Nath.
"The restaurant industry has fully recovered from the pandemic, as the market value grew by 14% last year to 410 billion baht," he said.
"We expect the food industry to grow by 4-5% this year."
Consumers are going shopping, socialising and dining in restaurants once again in greater numbers, said Mr Nath.
Thailand's gradually recovering tourism industry is also spurring domestic consumption, he said.
CRG is confident sales can grow by 20% to 15 billion baht this year, up from 12.8 billion last year, said Mr Nath.
- Central Restaurants Group