BANGKOK, NNA - Pablo, Japan's famous cheese tart chain based in Osaka, has started its first operation in Thailand, giving a master franchise to Thai conglomerate Baiyoke Group in exchange for it committing to run eight Pablo outlets in the Southeast Asian country within five years.
Thailand is the fourth Asian market where Pablo cheese tarts are available following Taiwan, South Korea and the Philippines.
Baiyoke Group Vice Chairman, Piyalert Baiyoke, said the group has set up PDS Sweet Co. to operate Pablo shops in Thailand, with registered capital of 5 million baht ($143,000). The master franchise contract has a renewal option for an additional five years.
The first Thai Pablo outlet, with a store 100 square meters in size, opened last Thursday on the ground floor of Siam Paragon Department Store in Siam Square, Bangkok's major business and shopping district. Sales in the first year are expected to reach 100 million baht with an expected 1,500 customers visiting per day.
The group plans to open three to four more Pablo outlets next year at department stores in Bangkok's downtown area near Bangkok Mass Transit System stations. Other outlets will possibly be set up elsewhere, including in Chiang Mai, Pattaya and Phuket.
Piyalert said online marketing via social media is the main strategy to promote Pablo to middle- and upper-class Thais. Pablo cheese tarts start in price from 75 baht. Almost all raw materials are imported from Japan.
Popularity of cheese tarts among Thai consumers has been gradually growing since some foreign pastry brands launched them in the country a year ago. There are a few cheese tart brands available in Thailand now, including BAKE Japanese cheese tarts from Hokkaido, priced at 80 baht each, and the MX Cakes & Bakery bakery brand from Hong Kong serving lava cheese tarts priced at 65 baht each.
Piyalert added that Pablo is different from other existing brands as it serves a variety of desserts including ice cream, cookies, snacks, coffee and beverages. He also plans to strengthen the brand by serving a seasonal menu similar to outlets in Japan next year, timed with events such as Halloween and Christmas, and creating a localized menu in the future. (NNA/Kyodo)