Oodles of noodles at premium prices
The manufacturer of popular brand instant noodles ‘Mama’ is breaking the stereotype of instant noodles as food for the poor by opening speciality noodle restaurants featuring dishes priced between 69 and 1,250 baht.
Pun Paniangvait, general manager of Thai President Foods, said on Monday that the company has joined with restaurant operators to open the restaurant chains Mama Station, Zaab Museum and Craze Mama by Zaab Museum under a business partnership in which the company holds 19% of the shares.
Mama Station features noodle dishes priced from 69 to 79 baht, while Zaab Museum and Craze Mama offer unique menus with premium ingredients such as lobster and seafood, costing from 500 to 1,250 baht.
With Mama noodles costing just 6 baht per pack, the prices of the dishes at these restaurants will be regarded as crazily expensive. However, the company sees it as a chance to break through price limitations and cater to those who truly love the Mama brand.
“We have not expanded into the restaurant business over the past 10 years due to the challenges and high levels of competition in this sector but have decided that the time is right since joining up with two groups of partners,” Pun said. “The first are experienced restaurant operators who adapt their dishes quickly to match emerging trends, while the second has a passion for noodle dishes.”
Pun added that the first Mama Station branch was set up at the Happy Hub project on Royal City Avenue, Bangkok, with the restaurant partner offering 5-6 dishes made from Mama noodles. “We sent in Mama’s R&D team to help improve the taste and presentation of these dishes to attract more target customers, making the restaurant a big hit,” he said.
Not long after, Zaab Museum and Craze Mama opened in leading shopping malls, with dishes tailored for 1-2 diners but at higher prices and with more premium ingredients.
Zaab Museum and Craze Mama have a different positioning from Mama Station, targeting true Mama lovers and foreign tourists, Pun added.
The company also uses Thai and Chinese influencers to promote their menus via the TikTok platform. Videos introducing crazy-price dishes such as stir-fried Mama with lobster (980 baht), Mama Tom Yum Kung XL hot pot (1,250 baht), and minced pork Mama set (889 baht), have racked up billions of views on social media.
Moving forward, Thai President Foods is planning to expand the first Mama Station branch using a budget of 4-5 million baht to cover 200 sqm of space, or about three times the size of the regular Mama Station. This flagship restaurant is slated to reopen in December.
The company is also planning to expand the Mama Station brand into the catering business, especially for events, music festivals, company outings, and weddings.