April 17, 2014 00:00
By KWANCHAI RUNGFAPAISARN
FICO COFFEE, the franchisee of California-based The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in Thailand, aims to more than triple the number of its coffee houses to 75 within four years.
After opening the first two Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf outlets in Bangkok at the same time in October 2012, the company now operates 16 coffee houses locally.
Thailand is the 25th country to operate the franchise.
Voravan Vanaspongse, general manager of Fico Coffee, a subsidiary of Evolution Capital, said the company planned to open between 10 and 12 new Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf outlets every year with an investment of Bt6 million to Bt8 million per store. Potential locations will be shopping centres and community malls, office buildings and hospitals. Chulalongkorn Hospital and Central Embassy will see openings next month.
“We plan to open two new coffee houses at Chulalongkorn Hospital and Central Embassy respectively in May,” she said.
Thailand is one of the fastest-expanding markets for The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in the world besides China and Indonesia. After 15 years of operation in Malaysia, 50-60 franchised outlets have opened so far.
“We have seen great business potential in Thailand, where people have recognised and enjoyed the coffee lifestyle. There are many well-known brands of coffee houses and coffee beans in the marketplace, and that allows Thai consumers to learn more about the coffee culture,” Voravan said.
She said The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf had opened franch-ised coffee houses in most markets in Asia, including Brunei, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia. The company will open its first franchise in Bangladesh this year.
“We are working for the development of other store formats of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf coffee house, including mobile units and kiosks. Such new formats will allow us to be more flexible, opening coffee houses at temporary locations such as exhibition events and fairs,” she said.
Evolution Capital’s acquisition of Fico Foods in August 2012, including the exclusive franchise in Thailand for Domino’s Pizza and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, allows it to fast-track its growth in the food and beverage sector.