The Vietnamese-style noodle franchise Pho 24, which opened a new outlet at Attwood Center earlier this month, is offering an Easter special of a free Khmer classic desert with every meal along with a 10 per cent discount for all orders including beverages.
Owner Hin Theany got the Pho 24 franchise for Cambodia from founder Dr Ly Qui Trung on a trip to Vietnam with the Japanese shipping company she works for.
“He is a young, very nice guy, very intelligent, and he was happy to have us in Cambodia. He has the trademark listed with Ministry of Commerce in Cambodia,” she said.
“When I saw the noodle shop, I was thinking that Cambodian people love noodles and why not bring this upper grade of noodles to Cambodia. This would be air-conditioned, high-class and everything fresh,” Hin said.
Pronounced “Fuh” 24, the franchise was opened in 2007 and Hin says they’ve been busy since opening day.
Born in Phnom Penh in 1971, the youngest in a family with seven children, Hin was sent to the children’s camp at Kampong Thom during the Khmer Rouge regime.
“It was pretty bad, far away from family and we had to wake up so early with the other children, cut trees to make fertilizer. They gave you a quota of how much you cut and if you didn’t do it, they didn’t give you enough rice porridge,” she said.
She remembered when the Vietnamese liberators came in.
“We stood along the road waving as the tanks came by and the soldiers smiled at us and threw some food for us.”
She found out about her father’s death because another man was with him, wounded and presumed dead in the same grave, but he escaped.
She lived as a school girl in Phnom Penh and worked as a house maid for an American woman for a year, working various jobs including as a flight attendant on what was called Cambodia International Airlines.
She joined Mitsui OSK shipping in 1996 when they employed only two people. Today, she runs the Japanese shipping company office with 16 staff at Phnom Penh Center.
Hin sub-franchised another Pho 24 outlet to Alain Dupuis’ MEAS Development at Phnom Penh International Airport.
“We provide training and everything to sub-franchisee, including marketing issues and we teach them the Pho 24 standards. I’m really happy to have Alain to be our sub-franchiser. He is an experienced guy and a professional in the food and beverage business with great success in his career,” she said.
As the holder of the Pho 24 master franchise for Cambodia, Hin plans to open eight outlets in Cambodia.
“We are working with Alain Dupuis to open one more in Siem Reap. He also wants to have two more shops, maybe in Kampong Cham. For my planning I want to open in Sihanoukville and Battambang, and a few more in Phnom Penh, and one in the Tuol Kork area,” she said.
Hin says doing business is risky, but when you follow very strict goals and do things instead of just talking about them, something will happen.
“I’m kind of lucky because when I opened this Pho 24 at Phnom Penh Center, it provided good business from day one.”
The Pho 24 franchise has 64 outlets in Vietnam, 57 of them in Ho Chi Minh City, and other outlets in Singapore, Korea, the Philippines, Australia and Indonesia with more to open in Hong Kong.
“One thing about Pho 24, is fresh ingredients, and everything left over they have to throw away. This is daily fresh and I love it because they have exclusive menus that the other restaurants cannot copy. We have to follow their recipe, use the same ingredients, and there’s no MSG.”
With regard to the new outlet at Attwood Center, Hin said some of the customers who are regulars at the Phnom Penh Center outlet had driven all the way out there because they were so happy about the new outlet.
“I also have some friends working in the airport, and they come here to have a quick lunch and go back to the airport. Customers also come from Tuol Kork. Attwood Center is going to be good business. I keep my fingers crossed,” she smiled.