By KWANCHAI RUNGFAPAISARN
The cafe was opened yesterday at the CentralFestival EastVille complex on Praditmanutham Road in Bangkok, and a second one is scheduled to open in Central Marina Pattaya in April.
A budget of Bt30 million has been earmarked for the opening of some 30 Playboy Cafes across Thailand within five years.
Flying in from the United States to preside over the opening, Cooper Hefner, chief creative officer and Playboy heir, said there were some 3,000 Playboy outlets selling fashion accessories and clothes in different markets across the world, particularly in Europe, Brazil, Taiwan, mainland China, India and Thailand.
“In Thailand, we have a good partnership with Lam Yook Millennium, which has been with Playboy for more than 15 years. We are quite sure that Thailand has good potential for the opening of Playboy Cafe,” Hefner said.
“We are confident that the clear and unique concept of Playboy Cafe will draw Thai consumers and maintain them as our customer base,” he said, adding that the firm is confident in the strength of the brand, which is recognised by 87 per cent of the global population.
Pornpat Wangworawong, chief operating officer of Lam Yook Millennium (2002) Co, said his company had outlined its plans last year after setting up Playboy outlets in five leading department stores in Thailand. It plans to open a new Playboy outlet at CentralPlaza Korat this year and will open a new business line to mark the Year of the Rooster this year.
Lam Yook Millennium is the first company in Asia to get a licence to operate a Playboy Cafe.
“Before opening the cafe, we conducted a market survey and learned that Thais like hanging out with friends and eating. Playboy Cafe serves healthy food and is unique thanks to its style and brand image. Its signature item, the Bunny Burger, will be served up from today at CentralFestival EastVille,” Pornpat said yesterday.
The 158-square-metre cafe has capacity for 70 customers.
As for the Playboy fashion side of things in Thailand, the brand has proved to be very popular, as the US trend of “cool” street wear is catching on here.
Another piece of good news for Thailand is that Playboy will launch a website in June so people can shop online.
Over the past few years, sales of the brand in Thailand rose 30 per cent on average, but last year’s growth was only 10-15 per cent because the global slowdown had affected the garment industry across the world.
In a move to combat the slowdown, the company plans to renovate its standalone shops and turn the outlets in department stores into unisex ones so all customer groups can be served.
Pornpat said Playboy had maintained a strong position in the fashion segment for specific customer and meets its growth target every year, though it does not want to compete with other brands.
Playboy’s style is to befriend customers and help them make buying decisions i|n the shops. The aim is to win brand |loyalty.