Name : Samantha Thu
Position :Operations Manager of Food Metro Trading Limited Peri Peri Charcoal Chicken and Sauce Bar
This month, Myanmar Insider met with Ms. Samantha Thu, the Operations Manager of Food Metro Trading Limited and asked about bringing Peri Peri Charcoal Chicken and Sauce Bar, which is under I-Foods Inc. into Myanmar.
Peri Peri Charcoal Chicken is one of the eight concept and chain restaurant brands under the I-Foods Inc. from the Philippines along with Tokyo Café, Stackers Burger Café, Kogi Bulgogi, Wafu, Woo Galbi, Spätzle and Parimigiano Ristorante Pizzeria.
PERI-PERI serves flavourful chicken dishes, charcoal-roasted and is trimmed of excess fat and marinated for 24 hours to ensure an explosion of flavours. It boasts a unique spice called PiriPiri, a type of Chili that orig- inates from Africa. I-Foods Inc. is planning to serve the new Peri Peri which will feature a market-style, fun-dining concept where customers can witness live-action cooking and encounter an extraordinary dining experience as they are encouraged to eat with their hands and choose from many exotic
sauces inspired by bygone day of bustling trade along the Spice Route. Special alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are also designed to be served along with the new Peri Peri.
Obtaining wide knowledge and resource- ful network in Myanmar’s F&B sector, Ms. Samantha Thu said she has always had a great passion for food. From how she met the president of I-Foods Inc. Group during her tour of exploring new business opportunities to how she ended up franchising Peri Peri Charcoal Chicken in Myanmar.
MI : How did you end up your current position?
I was involved in the initiation of Food Metro Trading Limited and was delegated as the Operations Manager.
MI : Please tell us more about bring- ing Peri Peri Charcoal Chicken into Myanmar?
I went to the Philippines to explore some business opportunities and ended up meet- ing the President of iFoods Inc Group which is a large and reputable food chain group in the Philippines. I tried Peri Peri Charcoal Chicken and thought this would be an excellent food chain to have in Myanmar. We ended up convincing I-Foods Inc to come in and this is how Peri Peri Charcoal Chicken and Sauce Bar ended up in Myanmar.
MI : Could you please share us with detail about the opening of Myanmar branch?
Our first branch will be on Yaw Min Gyi Road which is a very “happening” area right now. Our first restaurant is two stories with a bar section on the second floor. It’s a fast casual dining restaurant. Our target is to open within the month of June.
MI : What kind of difficulties had been encountered preparing to open Peri Peri Charcoal Chicken in Myanmar and how did you overcome them?
Location and parking was our initial concern. Luckily we have designated parking for our customers underneath Royal Yaw Min Gyi Condo, thanks to our other Director Dr. Tin Aung Lynn.
MI : Can you elaborate on Peri Peri Charcoal Chicken future expansion plans in Myanmar, in terms of branch- es and specific cities?
Naturally we would like to expand around Yangon, but also focus our attention on Mandalay after this first store opens. We already have a partner in Mandalay with ex- tensive experience in F&B so it makes sense for us.
MI : Since a number of international chain restaurants have entered into Myanmar market, who do you think are your potential competitors and how are you planning to compete against them?
We are our biggest competitor. We will continuously study the market and challenge ourselves to see where we can improve, especially when it comes to serving our customers. We strongly believe in our product.
MI : What are other current projects you’ve been working on, besides Peri Peri Charcoal Chicken?
For now we are just looking into various aspects of F&B since most of our partners have an F&B background. It’s just a lot of researching right now to see what we can do next.
MI : Please share us your opinion on the country’s retail sector and franchising business?
I think my opinion doesn’t differ much when I say there is a lot of room for growth, especially where global brands are concerned. I think a lot of franchises will be coming in soon.
MI : What do you suggest to someone who is starting up a franchise business here?
Make sure your franchise resonates with the current market. I think this goes for any business not just franchises.
MI : From a business standpoint, what do you feel are the biggest challenges facing you and your team in Myanmar in next 1-3 years?
There will be a lot brands opening up in the near future, so our challenge will be to stay fresh and find creative ways to keep the demand going. It’s an exciting challenge none- theless!
MI : What advice would you give someone looking to start up a business and invest in Myanmar?
Find solid, local partners who know their field well. It will make a world of a difference.[/paypal]