Forth Smart makes move into cafés
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Forth Smart makes move into cafés

The company operates 5,537 Tao Bin vending machines as of the first quarter this year.
The company operates 5,537 Tao Bin vending machines as of the first quarter this year.

Forth Smart Service Plc, the country's largest top-up machine provider, is diversifying its business to cafés in the fourth quarter of this year to increase sales.

Managing director Narongsak Lertsuptavee said Tao Bin cafés will be opened in the final quarter of this year under its subsidiary, Forth Vending Co, which manages Tao Bin smart beverage vending machines.

Tao Bin cafés will sell various food and beverage products, including milk tea, noodles and fried chicken under one roof.

The cafés will be funded by the company's own investment and under a franchise basis, he said.

Forth Smart also plans to establish Ginka charging points for electric vehicles (EVs) in spacious standalone locations spanning 100-200 square metres, or larger plots of up to 1-2 rai.

These charging stations will offer comprehensive services, including parking facilities, said Mr Narongsak.

The company intends to install Ginka EV charging stations in department stores, hospitals and condos from July this year.

Forth Smart Group has expanded Tao Bin's business for years via Forth Vending Co, in which the former owns a 26.4% stake.

The company operates 5,537 Tao Bin vending machines as of the first quarter of this year. Some 33.2% of its sales came from milk and chocolate, 26.6% from soda, 19.2% from coffee, 15% from tea, 3.7% from energy drinks, and the remaining 2.3% from others.

The machines sell 250,000 drinks per day.

"Tao Bin is gaining positive recognition from customers because of our innovation and our products' good taste," he said.

"We can serve all types of beverages and easily expand into all beverage markets."

Thailand's non-alcohol beverage market is estimated at 247 billion baht, of which soda accounts for 62 billion baht, coffee 60 billion, milk and chocolate 60 billion, energy drinks 20 billion, tea 13 billion, and others 32 billion.

Mr Narongsak said the company expects Tao Bin vending machines to total 10,000 by the end of this year, expanding to 20,000 in three years.

The new Tao Bin vending machines are slated for condos, apartment buildings and retail complexes, as well as in front of convenience stores, washing stores and factories, he said.

Apart from new locations, the company launches at least one novel product in its vending machines every week, with energy drinks and yuzu drinks the latest offerings.

If energy drinks prove popular, Forth Vending plans to introduce canned energy drinks to the market, Mr Narongsak said.

In a related development, the company expanded the Tao Bin business into Malaysia this month.

Forth Vending plans to unveil Tao Bin in other countries such as Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia and Vietnam via a partnership with a leading carbonated soft drink brand that has sales and marketing networks in several countries, he said.

"Tao Bin can be our new S-curve business," said Mr Narongsak.

"We are trying to expand multiple revenue streams for the company."

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