Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Central Restaurants Group (CRG) has taken over the Ootoya Japanese restaurant chain in Thailand to strengthen its food business.The move is part of a strategy to lift sales of CRG to 15 billion baht within five years, from 7 billion expected this year.

Showing off menu items, from left: Thiradej Chirathivat, CEO of Central Restaurants Group; Suthichai Chirathivat, Central Group executive chairman; Suthikiati Chirathivat, board chairman of Central Plaza Hotel; and Hisami Mitsumori, president of Ootoya Holdings.

The company paid 720 million baht to acquire 100% of Betagro Ootoya (Thailand), a joint venture between Ootoya Holdings of Japan and Betagro Group, one of Thailand's largest pork and chicken producers and exporters.

The deal will give CRG the rights to manage 33 Ootoya restaurants in Thailand and additional ones in emerging markets in Asia except Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Singapore, where Ootoya Holdings is already established.

Thiradej Chirathivat, CRG's chief executive, said the company would open at least three new Ootoyas in the second half, at CentralPlaza Lardprao and Central Rama IX and the Terminal 21 retail complex on the corner of Asok and Sukhumvit roads. Each will cost 15 million baht.

With the additional outlets, the total Ootoya restaurants will rise to 36 by the year-end. Sales of Ootoya would reach 600 million baht this year and rise to 2 billion baht over the next five years. For overseas markets, CRG is keen to open Ootoya restaurants in China, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Ootoya is the 12th food brand under CRG. Its others include Mister Donut, KFC, Auntie Anne's, Pepper Lunch, Beard Papa's, Chabuton, Cold Stone Creamery, Ryu Shabu Shabu, The Terrace and Cafe{aac} Andonan.

"We are acquiring Ootoya for our restaurant business portfolio because it is regarded as a Japanese restaurant with strong brand presence and great potential to grow," Mr Thiradej said.

With the combined strength, the company is confident that CRG is well on its way to becoming a leading business group in the regional restaurant industry.

Currently, CRG operates about 600 restaurants across various brands and the number would increase to 1,000 branches within the next five years.

Apart from the acquisition, the company plans to spend about 450-500 million baht every year to expand its new restaurant branches and renovate its existing outlets.

Mr Thiradej expects the Japanese restaurant business in Thailand is worth about 14 billion baht with an anticipated growth rate of 15% per year.

Hisami Mitsumori, president of Ootoya Holdings, said Betagro would continue to supply pork and chicken to Ootoya Holdings. Currently, Ootoya operates 220 branches in Japan and 49 overseas.

The company will increase the number of Asian Ootoya restaurants to 100 next year and 200 within the next five years.

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