Burger Thailand, the local operator of the Burger King chain, is ramping up its efforts to attract children, part of the company's global strategy.
Tanawat Damnernthong, the company's general manager, said children have a significant influence on their parents' decision-making when choosing a restaurant. Families with children tend to spend even more per meal than working professionals, he said.
According to Mr Tanawat, Burger Thailand aims to reach children through various means for the first time since its establishment in the country 23 years ago. One recent initiative was the introduction of a children's set menu, which was launched last Friday.
Additionally, Burger King partnered with Sony Pictures Entertainment (Thailand) Co to create a "Burger King Spider-Verse Store" at its Ratchadaphisek Road branch, marking the first such collaboration in Southeast Asia. The store is adorned with decorations featuring characters and themes from the Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse movie.
This decorative theme has also been implemented at two other branches: Siam Paragon and Mega Bangna. The Burger King Spider-Verse Store is open until June 30, 2023.
Dujdao Promobol, the executive director of marketing at Sony Pictures Entertainment (Thailand) Co, said the partnership with Burger King to create new experiences for consumers through the Spider-Verse Store provides the potential to reach a broader target customer base for the movie. Burger King's brand appeal extends across all genders and age groups, making it an ideal platform to engage with a diverse range of customers.
This strategy is in line with the target audience of the Spider-Man franchise, which encompasses various age groups, among both children and adults. Sony Pictures looks forward to future collaborations with Burger King, envisioning broader outreach to consumers, she said.
According to Mr Tanawat, Burger King has been striving to attract families with children to its establishments in Europe and China by offering child-friendly menus.
As part of the collaboration with Sony Pictures, the fast-food chain has introduced a promotional set aimed at children called "King Jr", priced at just 99 baht. Furthermore, the company has organised activities that allow all customers to immerse themselves in the Spider-Man universe. It plans to launch other products in the future, such as toys as well as a range of activities to attract children to its stores, he said.
"With challenges like inflation and raw material shortages easing, we are moving forward to expand our business this year," said Mr Tanawat. "Though the labour [minimum] wage will be raised in the future, we already have efficient plans to cope with it. We are currently more concerned about electricity bills."
Burger Thailand aims to open eight new stores this year, bringing the total up to 129. The new stores would be located in tourist destinations, taking advantage of the recovery in tourism.
Two of the new stores opened in this year's first quarter at Hat Yai Village community mall and a Shell petrol station near Central Bang Na. Another store will open in July on Koh Samui.
The burger market in Thailand is valued at around 10 billion baht per year, with an average growth rate of 3% annually. Mr Tanawat anticipates a 20% increase in the company's sales this year to reach 2.4 billion baht.
The sales breakdown consists of around 30% each from dine-in, take-away, and delivery, while the remaining 10% comes from the drive-thru channel. The customer base is predominantly Thai, accounting for about 95% of sales, which represents an increase from 75% prior to the pandemic.