Local food chain corporation United Food Group Co Ltd (UFG) has brought the US-based fast-food chain Pizza Hut to Cambodia and is set to debut its first shop this month, reflecting the ongoing expansion of US businesses into the Kingdom.
A subsidiary of New York-listed Yum! Brands Inc, Pizza Hut has the advantage of best-practice sharing across the globe, with the chain closing 2019 with 18,703 restaurants in over 100 countries, more locations than any other pizza company, it noted in a press release on August 5.
UFG group chief executive officer Heng Sengly said the first Pizza Hut store will be opened in mid-August near the Russian market area, an expatriate and business hub, with two more set to follow by the end of September, and 30 more in next two-to-three years.
“The number of young Cambodians generating income is increasing rapidly and they prefer branded products to enhance their modern lifestyles. We believe that Pizza Hut will be the pizza brand of choice among youths and we aim to promote modern pizza-eating culture to Cambodia by offering a world-class pizza brand to consumers at a similar price with existing brands,” he said.
Pizza Hut is the next in the line of US fast-food chains making their way into Cambodia, after the California, US-based The Habit Burger Grill back in October opened its first store in the Kingdom, in partnership with locally-owned gas and oil firm Kampuchea Tela Ltd.
According to UFG projections, the pizza market in Cambodia generated no less than $100 million in revenue in 2019 and could grow 15-20 per cent each year as the consumer class surges in parallel with economic growth and rising foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows.
UFG also owns the Park Cafe restaurant chain, which operates 20 stores in the Kingdom.
And a top player in the Cambodian pizza scene, opening its first store back in 2005, The Pizza Company is operated by Express Food Group (EFG) – a member of Bangkok-based RMA Group, which specialises in the automotive, equipment, services and food brand businesses.
On May 5, the virtual Cambodia Franchise Expo brought together nine well regarded US franchising companies looking for business opportunities and expansion into Cambodia to build a footstep for a strong foundation in Southeast Asia, with over 30 Cambodian businesses and entrepreneurs to discuss potential partnerships.
These were – The Boiling Crab, Chili’s, Dickey’s BBQPit, Duck Donuts, Long John Silver’s, Mathnasium, Snap Fitness, Tapout Fitness and Tumbles.
American Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia (AmCham) president Anthony Galliano told The Post in May that there is an increasing awareness of US brands and standards, and supporting the sales of US products and services in the Kingdom is part of a Joint Working Plan executed between the US embassy in Phnom Penh and AmCham.
“US franchises present a superb opportunity for entrepreneurs in Cambodia,” he said. “The success of US franchises businesses in Cambodia is absolutely evident and a proven model, and there is substantial interest for further brand expansion.
“US brands are omnipresent and everyday use in Cambodia. In particular, fast food, hospitality and real estate brands are dominant and resilient, even in the challenging Covid economy,” he added.
He listed Starbucks, Burger King, KFC, 7-Eleven, Domino’s, Century 21, Papa John’s, Marriott, Hyatt and KFC as examples of “extremely successful” franchises in the Kingdom.
The US remains Cambodia’s largest trading partner and export market. The latest data from the US trade office shows that Cambodian exports to the world’s largest economy skyrocketed last year, growing by 40 per cent to reach $5.36 billion.
The Kingdom was the US’ 66th largest goods trading partner in 2018, achieving $4.3 billion in bilateral trade.