King Food Group plans regional thrust

King Food Group, owned by the Mahagitsiri family, plans to expand in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) to cash in on the growing middle class in the region.

King Food Group president Ausanee Mahagitsiri says it will talk with the owners of the bakery brands in its franchise portfolio, including Bulgogi Brothers, Cinnabon, Krispy Kreme and Pie Face, to seek the rights to run their chains in the CLMV market.

Mahagitsiri says the markets are promising as lifestyles rapidly change to welcome more fast food and bakeries.

Meanwhile, at home the group will double its investment to THB400 million (US$11.7 million) to open 22 branches under six bakery, food and juice brands this year. Eight will be under the Krispy Kreme banner, with four Cinnabons, three Pie Faces, five Jamba Juices and two International House of Pancake outlets.

King Food has just received the Thailand rights to run Jamba Juice, a vegetable and fruit smoothie and juice brand from the US, and iHop, an American pancake restaurant chain.

Jamba Juice’s first branch opened at Siam Paragon in Bangkok last week with 15 seats and 20 employees.

With a 10-year contract, the company plans to open 40 to 50 Jamba Juice branches in Thailand.

Ausanee says the company is interested in expanding into the fruit and vegetable juice market which is valued at THB200 billion with people becoming more concerned about health.Jamba Juice has more than 896 retail locations globally. Of these, 70 are outside the US in such countries as Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines.

King Food says it will initially import fruits and vegetables, but plans to approach Jamba to use Thai fruits and also export them for the network worldwide.

The company plans to open four or five Jamba Juice branches in Bangkok this year.

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