Australian-based Mexican food franchise, Zambrero will open its first overseas outlet in Bangkok, Thailand on 31 July, and there are plans to open additional sites across the world, as well as locally.
Another five stores are scheduled to open in Bangkok within the next six months, and New Zealand is set to receive six Zambrero outlets by February 2015.
The US, Middle East and India are also in the company’s sights next year, followed by China.
Australia continues to remain a focus for the brand – there are plans to open another 300 domestic stores within the next seven years.
Zambrero CEO Stuart Cook relocated to Thailand six months ago in lieu of the company’s first international opening.
He said, despite the recent unrest in Bangkok, there’s never been a better time to start a new business in the Thai capital.
“The economy is Southeast Asia’s second biggest and businesses are thriving here right now,” he said.
“Another reason we chose Bangkok is because it’s one of the strongest food technology and distribution hubs in the world. Thailand has a fertile environment, a large land mass and has embraced the technology to drive their food industry more so than any other Asian country.”
Zambrero founder Dr Sam Prince has enlisted four joint venture partners to help drive the company’s expansion in Southeast Asia, including Bob Lapointe, who brought the KFC, Pizza Hut and Sizzler brands to Australia.
Dr Prince reiterates the new Bangkok store will not mirror its Australian counterparts. Rather, it will cater to the local community – share-plate style meals and tastes familiar to the local palate, including tom yum sauce will comprise the menu.
“This restaurant won’t be for the expats but aimed at the people of Thailand,” he said.
“Asian countries have an aspirational culture that wants foreign brands but they also want familiar tastes. They also don’t know much about Mexican food so this will be an educational process as well.”
In keeping in line with this approach, a large portion of the produce used in Zambrero’s Bangkok franchises will be sourced locally, apart from dairy products such as sour cream and cheese and some Mexican chillies and beans.
“The exciting thing for us is that there are a lot of spices and chillies used in Zambrero’s Mexican food that are similar to the Thai palate and also available locally. Their culture of sharing food is important, too, and our dishes will reflect that,” added Dr Prince.