MK Restaurants plans US$11m expansion

Thailand’s MK Restaurants Group plans to invest about Bt400 million (US$11.3 million) a year over the next five years to expand in Thailand as well as its overseas markets, including Singapore.

Chairman/CEO Rit Thirakomen says the group will open 15 MK branches in Thailand this year, together with 25 Yayoi and five Miyazaki Japanese restaurants. Three or four franchised restaurants will be added to each overseas market.
“We are also open for acquisition deals with select companies in food, services and retailing, so they will be able to use our infrastructure and logistics,” says Thirakomen.

MK Restaurants Group’s sales rose 4 per cent to Bt15.49 billion last year, but its profit spurted 13 per cent to Bt2.1 billion. It projects growth at 5 to 9 per cent annually for five years.

The group’s first MK Live flagship restaurant was officially unveiled at The Emquartier shopping mall in Bangkok yesterday, targeting health-conscious and “lifestyle” consumers. It has 135 seats.

MK’s other brands are Hakata Ramen, Le Petit coffee shop and bakery, Le Siam Thai Restaurant, Miyazaki Teppanyaki, MK Restaurants, MK Gold Restaurants, Na Siam Thai Restaurant and Yayoi Japanese Restaurant. As well as 600 outlets in Thailand, the group has 40 franchised outlets in Indonesia, Japan and Vietnam.

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It has also set up a JV in Singapore to run its restaurants there, including MK, Miyazaki and Yayoi.

Rit says that under its third-generation management team, MK Restaurant Group has outlined a major expansion plan for this year to cash in on the burgeoning Thai food industry, predicted by Kasikorn Research Centre to grow at 2 to 4 per cent to about Bt390 billion this year.

Assistant marketing director Tantawan Thirakomen says MK Live is a suki (hot pot) restaurant designed to attract teenagers, young adults and families.

“The store is decorated to reflect a vegetable greenhouse, with natural decorative items – wood, trees and rocks – as well as hydroponic vegetables displayed on the walls,” she says.

A feature is its Live Showcase open kitchen where customers can see the chefs working on their meals, including dim sum and meatballs. Also on the menu are lobsters from Canada, scallops from the US and Wagyu beef from Japan.

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