The Hard Rock Café is an international Food and Beverage brand that is instantly recognisable for a huge population globally.
The Hard Rock Café brand is present in North America, the Caribbean, South and Central America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Asia Pacific region, with venues in 76 countries.
Hard Rock Café have seen the value of the Cambodian market. They currently have two Hard Rock Café venues in the Kingdom.
The first is in Siem Reap and has been open for two years. The second venue is right here in Phnom Penh at Exchange Square mall, and has been open a little over a year.
The Post sat down with Richard Tan, country sales and marketing manager for Hard Rock Café Cambodia to pose some questions about the Cambodian food and beverage sector, and the brands experience so far in the Kingdom.
As an internationally recognised brand with diverse venue operations and value added product line, Hard Rock Café offers a good value proposition.
With Cambodia’s booming growth in the food and beverage sector over the last five years, it is clear that significant opportunities exist in the local market.
“The Cambodian F&B sector has been growing tremendously over the years and new brands have been entering the market hoping to get a slice of the industry, pioneer brands have been constantly adapting to changes in the market in order to stay competitive” said Tan, continuing, “as an established international brand, Hard Rock Café provides the highest quality food, cocktails and service. We also provide employment to more than 120 Cambodians and constant training to our team to maintain the quality of our service”.
Hard Rock Café as a large organisation is in a great position to be able to benefit from the sector’s growth and pass that benefit on to Cambodians who work for the company.
One of the keys to employing a successful business strategy in Cambodia is to be able to offer the local community employment.
With the sector growing so quickly, staff can be hard to source, keeping good staff can be the difference between boom and bust in the Cambodian F&B sector, “in the last eight years of my experience, more and more international brands have entered Cambodian market [and] in the last two years and some have also left,” said Tan.
In terms of Hard Rock Cafe’s position in the sector, the positioning and strategy is different between the two stores.
In Siem Reap, the customer demographic is different to Phnom Penh, Tan remarked, “Our brand is strong in Siem Reap because of the large number of tourist arrivals, while in Phnom Penh our focus is more on building awareness towards Cambodians for the past one year”.
In Phnom Penh the brand is hoping to educate the Cambodian population with regard to the brand offerings. The intended result is to develop customer loyalty and increase brand recognition, “It is a vital component to our strategy to localise and create the brand experience that is second to none for the market”.
In order to plan for the future, the sector needs stability and growth, according to Tan the “F&B business will always keep on growing as long as there is a demand. Countries such as Singapore and Thailand are good examples of how the food industry is constantly growing and changing. In Cambodia the F&B market has been growing because of the rising middle income group as more Cambodians are now earning a higher income compared to the past”.
As the middle income demographic develops in Cambodia, the market will benefit both from increased sales and increased salaries for employees, “in Phnom Penh alone, the salary range is 59 per cent higher than any other province in Cambodia. This is expected to continue for the short and medium term in view of the sustainability of the Cambodian economy”, said Tan.
With unique product offerings in the Cambodian market such as great live music, food and drinks, a clothing line and value added products such as mugs and bags, the Hard Rock Café brand presents a brand experience that many Southeast Asian customers have been quick to embrace.
Tan believes that “this country [Cambodia] is ready to move forward and the Cambodian market is able to accept international bands that can cater to their tastes. Some international brands have been able to establish loyalty from their customers in Cambodia”.
Hard Rock Café believes it has the right mix to become a permanent part of the market.