CP Foods thinks on the 'fast' lane

Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group’s agri and food business subsidiary, Charoen Pokphand Foods (CP Foods), has announced plans of bringing its fast food business to India.

CP Foods, in the first phase, had invested $250 million in  aqua and poultry businesses in India. As part of the second phase, involving its fast food business plans, CP Foods has chosen Bangalore for a start, setting aside an investment of $30 million for the purpose.

The $35-billion group, which has a presence in India since 1992 with interests in aquaculture and poultry, is now vying for a share of the country’s rising fast food and quick service restaurant (QSR) culture, CP Foods told Deccan Herald, formally launching its ‘Five Star Chicken’ brand in Bangalore.

Five Star Chicken is a ready to eat, takeaway chicken concept, which will function through multiple kiosks and sales outlets. It has around 6,000 outlets in Thailand alone, with many more in other Asian countries.

CP Foods President and Chief Executive Officer Adirek Sripratak said, “We want to cater to the growing young population of India. We have seen a changing trend in the market, where consumers are looking for more convenient and affordable eating experiences.”

He said that depending on demand, the group plans to open 200-300 Five Star Chicken kiosks across Bangalore in the next five years alone, with the aim of expanding to other southern Indian states as well. Sripratak added that the kiosks will be franchisee-run, with management oversight from the India operations.

The company has roped in local contract farmers to provide raw materials. Besides, it has its own cold storage and poultry facilities to provide for daily operations, he said.

“Presently, we have hired a staff of 25 for Five Star Chicken operations, while we have about 6,500 employees in India working in our other businesses,” he said.

CP Foods does not aim to compete directly with other QSR concept companies in India, but is relying on its mantra of quality at affordable rates, Sripratak said, adding that depending on the success of Five Star Chicken, the company might contemplate bringing in more of its brand portfolio to India.

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