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Yum spices up its investment menu

Yum Restaurants International (Thailand) Co, the local operator of KFC and Pizza Hut, plans to increase its investment budget by 30% to one billion baht next year to accommodate domestic expansion.

Managing director Milind Pant said part of the budget will be used to convert existing stores to the new global design standard that already appears at its branches in Paradise Park on Srinakarin Road.

The money will also be used to open new free-standing drive-through KFC outlets. New equipment will support menu expansion scheduled for next February and March.

Mr Pant said Yum expects to add 35 more fast-food outlets _ 30 KFCs and five Pizza Huts.

The 35 new outlets will bring the total number of KFCs and Pizza Huts in Thailand to 362 and create 1,000 new jobs.

The fresh investment reflects company’s commitment to Thailand despite the hardship of the flood crisis, said Mr Pant.

“We expect consumption in Thailand will continue to grow over the coming years,” he said.

Border areas such as Mukdahan province and Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district are key trade and tourism destinations conducive to the opening of new outlets.

The deluge that has affected more than 30 provinces including the capital has forced Yum to suspend operations at many outlets.

Affected are 40 KFCs managed by the company, 20 others under Central Restaurants Group and 20 Pizza Huts.

Damage figures have not been finalised.

The improving situation in Ayutthaya, one of the hardest-hit provinces, has resulted in eight of the nine KFC outlets there reopening last week.

Outlets in another flood-struck province, Nakhon Sawan, will all reopen this month.

“This disaster is the most challenging for our people, our supply chain and our 1,400 employees. All are suffering. I am very impressed that even though their life is difficult at home, they continue to work efficiently,” said Mr Pant.

The year-to-date performance of Yum Restaurants has been appreciatively above the forecast. But what he remains most concerned about are supply-chain problems if Rama II Road, the main road to the South, is cut off next.

The company has set up a temporary distribution centre in Songkhla province to stock up on frozen and dry products and ensure that customers at all 42 southern KFC and Pizza Hut branches can continue to be served.

Yum is also looking at delivering ingredients via air, sea and rail.

Source: Bangkok Post

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