U.S Fast-food giant Burger King could soon be serving up the first “Whoppers” in Cambodia, while and overseas firm has begun recruiting local staff to work for the chain, the businessman behind the franchise investment said yesterday.
Local garment factory owner Sok Hong, who is board member at Sokimex Group and the son of Sokimex chairmen Sok Kong, said that he is involved in talks to open Burger King restaurants in Cambodia.
“We don’t know when we will start yet,” Mr. Hong said. “We are studying it.”
Mr.Hong said his restaurant chain plan was no linked to his father’s well-known conglomerate Sokimex, but he declined to give any other further details.
A company named Blue Kite Food & Beverage Co. Ltd. has posted job advertisement online featuring the Burger King logo, which say the company has obtained the franchise for the chain in Cambodia.
The advertisements, which have appeared on local websites including the government-run National Employment Agency’s site, say recruits are wanted for the positions of restaurant manager, project manager and general staff posts in Phnom Penh.
“Blue Kite Food & Beverage Co, Ltd, a subsidary of the Imex Pan-Pacific group, is the franchisee for Burger King AsiaPac for Cambodia,”the ads state.
Imex Pan-Pacific has opened Domino’s Pizza outlets in Vietnam and has been linked to plans to open Burger King restaurants there. The company has offices in Ho Chi Minh City and Singapore.
Somuch Sovary, whose contact details are included in the job ad, declined to give details about the company but said she was based in Phnom Penh.
“Our company is still not yet opening, we still don’t have information for you,” Ms. Sovary said. “We don’t have manager or a director yet.”
Khek Norida, communications manager at Cambodia Airport, said that the airport operator was in talk with Mr. Hong, to open a Burger King restaurant at Phnom Penh International Airport.
“We are in talks with them and it’s not yet finalized, but it should be finalized sometime in winter,” Mr.Norida said.
A Regional representative for Burger King did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
Burger King, whose “Whopper” burger are to the fast food chain what the “Big Mac” is to McDonald’s , will be joining KFC and a number of smaller international and local fast-food restuarants currently operating in Cambodia.
Local businessman Kith Meng’s Royal Group and Malasian firm QSR Brands established KFC here under a franchise in 2008. The chain has expanded to 10 restaurants in the country, but suffered losses of $2.9 million in 2011.
Thailand-based RM Asia has also brought Thai brand Pizza Company, South Korean chain BBQ Chicken and U.S ice-cream name Swenson’s to Cambodia. And Cambodian company CBMl Corp. has opened its own brands BB World and Pizza World.
John Brinsden, vice chairman at the international Business Chamber of Cambodia, said that he was expecting more international fast-food chains to enter the country.
“I’m surprised it’s taken so long,” Mr. Brinsden said, referring to Burger King. “If you look at the demographics, with the country full of teenagers and people in their 20s, the are the perfect audientce of this.”
Still, some of the larger franchises like McDonald’s have said they are staying away from Cambodia due to the difficulties associated with finding suitable partner who can navigate the local rules and regulations.
Source Accordance: Cambodia’s Daily News paper.