FRANCHISING | Staff Reporter, Australia

Zambrero opens first Asian location in Bangkok, Thailand

Plans to open more in other countries next year.

Five stores are slated to open in Bangkok in the next six months, with another six stores to be opened in New Zealand by next February.

In the pipeline for next year are the United States, the Middle East and India, with plans to head to China after.

According to the brand, Bangkok’s Zambrero will not be a cookie-cutter version of its Australian counterpart. Bangkok stores will cater to the local community, with share-plate style meals featuring tastes familiar to the local palate and what Dr. Sam Prince described as “the best deep-fried chicken in Asia”.

“This restaurant won’t be for the expats but aimed at the people of Thailand,” Dr. Prince 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.

“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.”

Dr. Prince has enlisted four joint venture partners to aid in Zambrero’s Southeast Asian expansion. They include entrepreneur Bob Lapointe, renowned as the man who introduced Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut and later Sizzler to Australia.

Zambrero CEO Stuart Cook moved to Thailand six months ago to oversee the global expansion and said, despite the recent unrest in Bangkok, the time could not be better for starting a business in the city. “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.”

All produce to be used in Zambrero’s Bangkok franchises will be local with the exception of such dairy products as sour cream and cheese, as well as some Mexican chillis and beans. 

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