by Simon Lewis
U.S. fast-food chain Burger King, which opened its first restaurant in Cambodia at Phnom Penh’s airport last month, plans to open another in the city before the end of the year, a representative of the company holding the franchise for the chain said Friday.
An official signing ceremony was held on Friday between Burger King and Cambodia Airports, to mark the opening of the first outlet at the international airport’s terminal building. The restaurant, which employs 20 local staff, first opened its doors on February 24.
Local company HSC, which is owned by Sok Hong, the son of well-known businessman Sok Kong, head of the Sokimex conglomerate, in partnership with Vietnamese firm Imex Pan-Pacific Group Inc., are partners in bringing the Whopper—Burger King’s trademark burger—to Cambodia.
Tony Cricenti, vice president of business development at Imex Pan-Pacific Group, said a second Burger King would be open in Phnom Penh before the end of 2013.
“Our intention is to move into the local market,” he said. “We’re focusing on the CDB [central business district] in Phnom Penh.”
Mr. Cricenti said that while some ingredients would be sourced locally, the meat sold at Burger King in Cambodia would be imported from overseas. Ho Chi Minh City-based Imex Pan-Pacific already operates 17 Burger King outlets, as well as Dominoes Pizza, Popeyes and Dunkin’ Donuts, in Vietnam.
Mr. Hong, who is also a board member at his father’s Sokimex Corporation, is also involved in cosmetics imports and sand dredging through HSC.
Mr. Cricenti said the company so far did not have the rights to bring any chain restaurants to Cambodia.
While its major global rival McDonald’s has not yet entered the Cambodian market, Burger King’s entry follows U.S. chains Swensen’s and Dairy Queen, which are operated in Cambodia by RM Asia.
Well-known businessman Kith Meng has also opened 10 outlets of fried chicken chain KFC, in partnership with Malaysian company QSR Brands. The venture has made multimillion-dollar losses since it began in 2007.
QSR recently delisted from the stock exchange in Kuala Lumpur, meaning that financial results for KFC in Cambodia are no longer made public. QSR Brands’ last available financial statement, published in November, shows KFC Cambodia had made a loss of $900,000 in the first nine months of 2012.
Reprinted by kind permission of the Cambodia Daily