By CHULARAT SAENGPASSA
Posting Bt12.59 billion in revenue for the 2018 fiscal year, Oishi prides itself as being No 1 in the Japanese Restaurant Food and Beverage Business despite the period’s challenging circumstances.
Its green tea business, after all, has faced heavy impacts from the increased excise tax, reduced purchasing power of customers and decline of the ready-to-drink green tea market.
Half of Oishi Group’s revenue for 2018 fiscal year, which concluded on September 30, came from the group’s restaurants with the remainder from its beverages business. Its beverage revenues sank by 15 per cent in 2018, while the restaurant food sales grew by 1.7 per cent.
Despite the significant revenue, data gathered by The Nielsen Company (Thailand) Ltd showed Oishi held strong with a 45.4 per cent market share in Thailand’s green-tea market between October 2017 and June 2018. It is also that sector’s market leader in Malaysia and Cambodia.
“We will expand further as we pursue our ‘Vision 2020’,” Oishi Group (PLC) president and CEO Nongnuch Buranasetkul reported at a press conference last week.
In pursuit of that vision, Oishi group plans to open 19 new restaurants in the coming year, enhance, enhance its delivery services, as well as strengthen its presence in overseas markets. Its products are now sold in at least 34 countries across the globe.
“Our strategy focuses on innovation that accommodates megatrends such as tech-dependent lifestyles, healthy eating, the aeging society and the ‘Asian Century’ on an ongoing-basis, and extends our reach into Asean through the application of synergy within our Group,” Nongnuch said.
Jesdakorn Ghosh, EVP, Beverage Business Group, said while Thailand’s green-tea market was hit hard, her firm’s exports of beverages grew by 59 per cent in the past fiscal year.
“We rolled out new products that were well accepted by local consumers, such as Oishi green tea [with] pomegranate flavour in Cambodia, and Oishi green tea [with] Kyoho grape flavour in Laos,” she pointed out.
The plan for 2019 is also solid, with Oishi Group already taking up a “young generation-centric” approach. It has recruited the hugely popular girls’ group BNK48 as its presenter.
The BNK48 band is a Thai sister-band in the style of popular Japanese idol band AKB48. “BNK48 represents the younger-generation group. They are known for being fun loving – the very brand DNA of Oishi, and they have quickly won the hearts and minds of our targeted customer group,” Jesdakorn said.
Oishi Group has also used BNK48 as presenters to promote its beverage products in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.
“We’ve set our sights on seriously tapping further into CLM plus Malaysia,” Jesdakorn added.
The group’s beverage business boasts a Bt700 million annual marketing budget to reach both Thai and overseas markets.
Paisarn Aowsathaporn, EVP, food business group, said that while |Oishi food business group had achieved all its objectives for the past fiscal year, it intended to work harder in 2019.
“We are improving our online and delivery system to reduce customers’ wait time from 45 to 30 minutes,” he said.
According to Paisarn, at least six branches have already succeeded in reducing waiting time for delivery services to below a half-hour.
“We’re focused on better delivery system to respond better to changing consumer behaviours,” Paisarn said.
Mekhala Nethipo, EVP, packaged food business group, said her unit also has an ambitious plan for 2019.
“We will do rebranding and restructuring,” she said.
That decision recognised the many potential business opportunities arising from the packaged food market becoming integral to urban people’s lifestyles.
“Oishi also has ready-to-cook and the ready-to-eat businesses. In 2019, we intend to rebrand the Oishi packaged food image to strengthen it and make it better-known among the public,” said Mekhala. “We should see results by the second quarter of fiscal year 2019.”