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BKK1 continues to undergo F&B franchise boom

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Newly opened in October, Carl's Jr adds to the list of international F&B businesses in the bustling BKK1 area. Moeun Nhean

BKK1 continues to undergo F&B franchise boom

Overloaded by brand new cafes and restaurants, Boeung Keng Kang 1 (BKK1) is increasingly drawing attention from big-name food and beverage business owners.

BKK1 is located in Preah Sihanouk Boulevard, and bordered by Mao Tse Toung Blvd, Preah Norodom Blvd, and Preah Monivong Blvd.

The upscale area’s popularity shows no signs of slackening, and while the trendy residential and entertainment precinct remains most favoured among the expat community, locals, tourists and commuting business professionals continue to flock to Street 51, the beating pulse of BKK1.

In recent years, BKK1 has always been the highly desired location for food and beverage companies to gain a foothold in, and 2016 has proved no different. The Krispy Kreme doughnut franchise set up base in BKK1 this year, as did American burger chain Carl’s Jr. While Starbucks has stores at the Phnom Penh airport and Aeon Mall, it also slid in and settled on BKK1 to expand the Starbucks footprint in Cambodia via the high-end Starbucks Reserve brand.

Suki Wong, a spokesperson for Cambodia Coffee Concepts at Starbucks Reserve Brand, said the BKK1 Starbucks location offers a place where people can come together to relax, recharge and connect with family and friends over coffee.

“Boeung Keng Kang, as a vibrant neighbourhood in the city, enables us to offer a cosy environment with a sense of community to customers, positioning Starbucks in a way that is both locally relevant and familiar to what we have done around the world,” she said.

With high land and property prices in BKK1, Starbucks seems to be, thus far, undeterred by what is likely exorbitant rental fees.

“While we do not disclose specific information on store rental [prices], we have been greatly humbled by how customers have embraced our flagship store since it opened in October,” she said.

For Krispy Kreme, positioning their outlet in BKK1 outweighs the high rental fees.

“[BKK1] is a business trade zone with all foreigners and the residents going there. It also provides good visibility of the brand,” said Vichika Bunna, marketing manager at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Cambodia.

“Even though the rental fee is higher than other locations, it is a high-traffic area, hence, Krispy Kreme decided to settle there.”

Bunna would not disclose the store's rental costs to Post Property on the basis of confidentiality.

Kim Heang, president of Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association (CVEA), said land prices in BKK1 have stabilised this year.

“Although land prices in other areas in Phnom Penh are changing by very much, BKK1 seems to be in its balance,” he said, expecting minimal price fluctuations for the next year or two.

“The average of BKK1’s land prices is now between $4,500 and $5,500 per square metre but if we talk about the size and areas, it will be more than what I have mentioned.

“This area is also home to most NGOs, UN staff, and embassies, so those restaurants and cafes are finding their markets in the area where most people earn more income,” he said, adding that most expats value high-quality products.

Geoff Hukins, chief operating officer of Arizona-based Soneera Water, eats out in BKK1 frequently.

“I eat in the BKK1 area three times a week and I just had breakfast at the Aussie XL on Pasteur St,” he said.

“I like this place that is why I’m still living here,” he continued, adding that he spends six months of the year in Cambodia for business purposes, and has set in stone his plans to retire here in Phnom Penh – and BKK1 – when he gives up his business interest in America in the near future.

While Hukins has not yet visited Starbucks in BKK1, he frequently visits Brown Coffee on Street 51 and would occasionally walk down to Blue Pumpkin for a pastry.

“There are so many great coffee shops in the area, and a lot of very good restaurants and bars,” he said.

Hukins said he rarely has to venture out of the area to find anything – with BKK1 offering all the convenience, services, and products needed to live comfortably.

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