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Central to open Yoshinoya

After withdrawing from the Thai market for over a decade, the 112-year-old Japanese rice bowl restaurant Yoshinoya is making a comeback through a partnership with Central Restaurant Group (CRG).

Sucheep Tamacheepjaroen, CRG’s senior vice-president for operations, said it received the right from Yoshinoya International Co to run the Yoshinoya chain in Thailand for 10 years.

CRG will be in charge of management, marketing and investment of the Yoshinoya chain throughout the country, while Yoshinoya International will play a supporting role.

The first Yoshinoya restaurant was opened at CentralPlaza Lardprao in August. CRG plans to open three more restaurants by year-end: one each at Terminal 21 shopping complex on Asoke this month, CentralPlaza Bang Na and on Rama IX Road.

Three to four new branches are planned for 2012 with sales expectations of 150 million baht. CRG wants 30 branches within three years. Each restaurant requires an investment of 10 million baht and will hire 30 employees.

CRG expects to generate 300-400 million baht from operating 30 Yoshinoya restaurants by 2014.

The company plans to allocate 10 million baht to build Yoshinoya brand awareness among Thai customers.

Ryusuke Tanaka, president of Yoshinoya International, said he hopes expansion in Thailand will help drive total restaurants worldwide from 1,700 to 2,000 in the near future.

CRG operates 12 food and restaurant brands and two-thirds are Japanese food.

Mr Sucheep said the popularity of Japanese food is growing as many Japanese food players have entered Thailand. In the past 10 years, the Japanese food business grew by 15-20% annually and the total value of the Japanese food sales in Thailand reached 14 billion baht.

Sales of CRG are estimated to reach 7 billion baht by year-end, up 20% from last year.

Source: Bangkok Post

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