Hungry protesters ravage food outlets

Shopping centres and food outlets near major protest landmarks enjoyed brisk business on the first day of the Bangkok shutdown.

Queues of customers waiting to place orders at fast-food chains in the Ratchaprasong and Pathumwan areas were extremely long. Nearly all customers were protesters.

McDonald's, KFC, Starbucks, food courts and street food vendors around the major protest areas were very busy on Monday.

"We expected sales at quick-service restaurant chains and food restaurants in our MBK shopping centre to double from the normal situation," said Sakchai Kengkijkosol, managing director for retail business of MBK Plc.

Many protesters rushed to have lunch at MBK's food court, extending the peak hours from 11am to 3pm, two hours later than normal.

Mr Sakchai said the number of visitors to MBK on Monday was about 89,000, on a par with a weekend.

Paisarn Aowsathaporn, executive vice-president for food business at Oishi, said the company enjoyed big sales at Oishi Grand at Siam Center and at its Shabushi outlets at Central shopping complex on Chaeng Watthana Road and CentralWorld at Ratchaprasong.

Normally, Monday has the lowest food sales of the week, but sales yesterday climbed to the same peak level as Saturday.

Similarly, Swensen's (Thai) Co operations director Suwannee Chansrigaydorn reported rising sales at its branches at Siam Paragon, Siam Center, Terminal 21, Century Complex, Centre One and The Emporium.

The company moved staff from other branches in Bangkok to help at the six busy ice-cream outlets.

Phattaraporn Phenpraphat, vice-president for marketing at Central Food Retail, said its food courts at CentralWorld and CentralPlaza Ladprao enjoyed brisk sales and some rice and curry stalls had to stop services early as they ran out of ingredients.

In the Asok area, Terminal 21 was packed with protesters identified by their whistles and T-shirts, with some carrying signs in both Thai and English to express their anger towards the government. Some even used the first floor of the shopping mall, which is connected to the Asok skytrain station, to sit and rest.

On the streets, food and drink vendors welcomed the rallies as a boost to their income.

A coffee street vendor on Phahon Yothin Road said he earned more than double his usual income from people who joined the rallies, though regular customers were fewer in number.

A black jelly juice vendor moved from her regular site near the Ari skytrain to the Mor Chit skytrain hoping to cash in on the rallies.

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 14/01/2014 at 05:29 PM
estimation between 3-4 million by most media ,a lot more than a half empty football stadium
Discussion 2 : 14/01/2014 at 05:27 PM
Ah, yes, so now they are not working, sitting on their butts and eating fast food... just like the Westerners you supposedly want to keep out of your sphere of influence. What a joke.
Discussion 3 : 14/01/2014 at 05:24 PM
Most of the people on the street are just ordinary people too, who just happen to work hard and earn a living. In my encounters with redshirts, I have always been struck by their moaning about money. But, I rarely see them pull themselves up by their own bootstraps to try to improve their own lives. They seem to just feel entitled to a free leg up without effort.
Discussion 4 : 14/01/2014 at 04:38 PM
This is a confusing article. It starts of talking about ‘food’, but then goes on to talk about McDonalds and KFC. I don’t see the connection.
Discussion 5 : 14/01/2014 at 04:28 PM
Proven that the rice pledging scheme has done nothing for the rice farmers. The warehouse owners can afford to eat there though!
Discussion 6 : 14/01/2014 at 04:27 PM
I see all this political unrest is not interfering with appetites......
Discussion 7 : 14/01/2014 at 03:54 PM
And the long term effect of useless government populist policies even greater still.
Discussion 8 : 14/01/2014 at 03:41 PM
Looks like the dems pay more than the reds. Didn't see the reds eating expensive food back then. I hope both sides realize soon that they are just pawns in the chess games of the rich and nobody risks to lose his life for them. Thai people, stop to be puppets for them!
Discussion 9 : 14/01/2014 at 02:26 PM
The DSI estimate for Monday night was 170,000+ at all sites.
Discussion 10 : 14/01/2014 at 02:18 PM
I always hear reform, now what reform, get rid of democracy? > No sense, Stop vote buying? > already illegal! what else?
Discussion 11 : 14/01/2014 at 01:51 PM
Even if you calculations are correct it is still about 45000 more that the reds or whites(whichever they are now) have got to there demonstrations.
Discussion 12 : 14/01/2014 at 01:35 PM
I don't think Mr Sakchai was basing his estimate on a photo though. So I would tend to agree with 89 000.
Discussion 13 : 14/01/2014 at 01:06 PM
BP, "hungry for reform" means nothing. This people never want reform, if not they would go to vote to give people legitimacy to reform. This protesters just think to take the power without vote. They don't deserve the complaisant publicity and tribune you daily give them, except if you don't care the majority of your People.
Discussion 14 : 14/01/2014 at 01:05 PM
I really don't think they're hungry for reform- they just want the elected government to fall. The "people's council" thing sounds like an idea that was made up after the protests started.
Discussion 15 : 14/01/2014 at 01:01 PM
Ordinary red shirt supporters could never afford to eat at McDonald's, KFC, Starbucks, let alone Oishi or Shabushi outlets. A perfect example of the economic inequality between the reds and yellows.
Discussion 16 : 14/01/2014 at 11:59 AM
Food outlets may be doing brisk business short term But the long term effect of cancelled flights and lost revenue from tourism is so much greater.
Discussion 17 : 14/01/2014 at 11:08 AM
I make it about 50,000 protestors max, based on the MBK sky photo (using 2 people per square meter and an area of appeox 25000 square meters).

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