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Ootoya eyes three more Thai stores

Mrs Ampaipan says sales at Ootoya have been impressive, up 7% as of August.

CRG International Foods Co, an operator of Ootoya Japanese restaurant chain, plans to add three more Ootoya outlets during the fourth quarter after the chain performed well so far this year.

As of August this year, Ootoya sales grew 7% to about 700 million baht. They are projected to reach 800 million baht by year-end, said Ampaipan Chirathivat, president of Ootoya.

The additional restaurants will give Ootoya 44 eateries in Thailand. The chain first opened in Thailand in 2005 at J Avenue Thonglor.

Mrs Ampaipan said Ootoya sales have been impressive, ranking third among the food stores operated by CRG for income generation. No.1 is KFC, followed by Mister Donut, Ootoya and Auntie Anne's.

The popularity of Japanese food in Thailand has grown significantly the past decade, with a market value of more than 20 billion baht this year and average growth of 10% per year during the period.

In 2016 the Japan External Trade Organization reported the number of Japanese restaurants in Thailand totalled 2,713, of which 1,753 are in Bangkok, with the rest in the provinces.

Mrs Ampaipan said CRG plans to spend 70 to 100 million baht every year to open new branches to cope with steady growth in the Japanese food business.

"Despite slow sentiment in the first quarter of the year, we saw an improvement in the third quarter, assuring us of growth of at least 5% for the full year," she said.

Ootoya also plans to add 30 new items to its menu. Normally it would add four to five new menu items, but this is the biggest uptick in menu choices in order to increase the frequency of store visits among customers aged 18-20, said Mrs Ampaipan.

Families make up 60% of the chain's customers, with office workers 30% and youths 10%.

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