By WATCHIRANONT THONGTEP
"Minor Food Group wants |further success on top of creat-|ing skilled chefs to meet dramatically increased demand both at home and overseas. In line with |that, the expansion of Thai |Express restaurants is among |our priorities," Arth Prakhun-hungsit, chief operating officer for local franchises and Thai food concepts at the Minor Food Group, said yesterday.
Under this five-year strategy, Minor Food Group will put |more focus on expansion of |Thai Express restaurants and other franchises such as Grab Thai, Patara and Suda. The company expects to have between 70 and 80 branches of Thai Express restaurants in China.
In Britain, the company wants to have about 20 branches, which would be run under either its own brand Grab Thai – a quick service format – or its joint venture between Minor International and S&P Syndicate. This JV, Patara Fine Thai Cuisine, will develop and run new outlets of Patara and Suda restaurants in London in parallel with four existing Patara and one existing Suda currently owned and operated by S&P Restaurants.
Thai Express also plans to add more branches in existing markets. To date, there are 51 Thai Express branches: 25 in Singapore, 15 in Vietnam, four in Thailand, three each in Malaysia and China, and one in Maldives.
"There is plenty of opportunity for Thai cuisine in global markets. Thai food can be served to meet |various demands, ranging from quick service to fine dining. Importantly, key ingredients in Thai food are well recognised as delicious and heathy," said Patamawalai Ratanapol, chief operating officer at the Minor Food Group and chief people officer at Minor International.
"In Asia, Thai food is ranked among the favourite Asian dishes along with Chinese and Japanese."
To bring Thai cuisine to a global scale, training professional chefs |is a key. Under a partnership with S&P, Minor International now operates the MSC Thai Cuisine institute, which comprises MSC Thai Culinary School and the consulting unit MSC Thai Cuisine Academy.
Although there were only 12 graduates in the first batches after a one-year training programme at MSC Thai Culinary, the school’s managing director Chumpol Jangprai said on Monday that all of them had either been hired by leading restaurants and hotels or opted to run their own restaurants.
"Both the local and the international market still need well-trained chefs with full skill sets of cooking, entrepreneurship and management. Skilled chefs or head chefs can earn more than Bt150,000 a month," Chumpol said.
He hopes that MSC Thai Culinary School will be able create at least 200 professional chefs in the near future to support the expansion of both Minor itself and the Thai-cuisine industry.