Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Restaurant owners see further growth

Restaurant owners see further growth

Starbucks employees serve customers at the company’s Aeon Mall branch in Phnom Penh earlier this year.
Starbucks employees serve customers at the company’s Aeon Mall branch in Phnom Penh earlier this year. Pha Lina

Restaurant owners see further growth

Cambodia's restaurant sector still has room to grow, though in the face of several venue closures, operators need to upgrade their services and focus on offering unique products, industry experts said yesterday.

Speaking at a press conference for the upcoming fifth edition of the CAMFOOD expo, Kouch Sokly, president of the 120 member Cambodian Restaurant Association, said the population in Cambodia, and Phnom Penh in particular, has benefitted from increasing levels of income. This, he said, translates to an increase in demand for quality restaurants and franchise chains.

The food and beverage industry will keep growing thanks to a stable economy and a very young population, he said.

“In the past, people’s incomes were lower so eating out at restaurants was a rarity, but now incomes have improved and spending money to eat out has become a weekly event,” he said. “The number of people who spend money to eat at a restaurant once a week will increase, and those who do eat out regularly will increase as well.”

While there is no concrete data on the revenue generated by the food and beverage industry in Cambodia, Sokly estimated the sector can earn a total of $300 million to $400 million a year. There are about 2,000 to 2,500 restaurants nationwide who have registered with the Ministry of Commerce and 1,000 of those operate in Phnom Penh.

Despite the potential for growth, there have been several cases where restaurants and food venues were forced to shut down – most notably the closure of the Taiwan-based beverage franchise giant Gong Cha in June.

According to Heng Sengly, general manager of Park Cafe, openings and closures show that the industry is facing tougher competition than ever before. He said that the competition was a sign that some local shops needed to improve their services.

“There is still an opportunity for growth, but operators need to provide something unique with more skill and quality,” he said. “Previously, venues could succeed by offering basic services. But now, customers value decoration, service and novelty so unless we adapt, the business will probably fail.”

MOST VIEWED

  • First Khmer woman to pass out of West Point

    The life of a soldier certainly isn’t for everyone. The training is gruelling, the hours long and there’s no room for excuses. On top of that, soldiers must be ready to respond to sudden threats at a moment’s notice. Just ask Sithyka

  • Tourists urged not to skip trip

    The Ministry of Tourism has called on international tourists not to cancel trips to Cambodia, but urged them to adhere to several dos and don’ts when arriving in the Kingdom during the Covid-19 pandemic. The ministry released an eight-point instruction manual on Wednesday published

  • The taxman cometh – Cambodia’s capital gains tax casts the net on individual taxpayers

    In a country where only limited personal income tax existed, the new taxation law beginning January 1, 2021, will make taxpayers out of Cambodians, whether they are ready for it or not About two years ago, a little known amendment was made to Article 7 of the Law

  • Cambodian-American gets Star Trek treatment

    Kevin Ung, a Cambodian-American whose family escaped genocide during the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror, was recently selected from thousands of applicants to participate in the Television Academy Foundation’s inaugural 2020 Star Trek Command Training Programme, a course intended to give hands-on filmmaking experience

  • Cambodia seeks to be transport hub

    Cambodia is working on several fronts to modernise its transport infrastructure and services, concentrating on opening new international gates to relieve and balance traffic congestion at its borders, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said on Thursday. This is part of the Kingdom’

  • Deminers unearth ancient lion statue

    Cambodia Mine Action Centre (CMAC) director-general Heng Ratana told The Post on Tuesday that a statue of a lion was found by mine clearance experts while they were digging for a development project. It was sent to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts last