Bangkok Air Catering celebrates 17 years
Amid the familiar industry headlines surrounding COVID-19, one caterer is marking an important milestone. This year, Bangkok Air Catering (BAC) celebrates 17 years in business, proud of its mindset and vigor, and its readiness for the future.
From humble beginnings in the mid-2000s, Bangkok Air Catering has pioneered innovative subsidiaries and business ventures. It operates restaurants, commercial catering, hospitality supplies, retail products and specialized food production under the Gourmet House Culinary Care and Gourmet Primo brands. Along with these major investments in quality equipment and resources that have landed the caterer at the front, Linus Knobel, Managing Director of BAC Group, tells PAX International it is the investment in people that yields the best results – and that is the secret to achieving long-term success.
In the past 12 months, the company has held on tightly to the assets that to some may be the easiest to let go, and often the most difficult to regain. While some airline caterers have had to shed staff and scale back operations, BAC's long-term approach aimed to retain a large proportion of its team members throughout the period.
“Why would we throw away the years of investment into these highly skilled and loyal people? Volumes will return, and we need to be able to support our existing customers," says Knobel. "We are in this together and no matter how reduced their schedule has had to become, we support them as well as prepare for the future and new customers."
Measures to protect the business in part included maximizing on considerable physical assets. The caterer moved kosher meal production, which is exported to many countries, to its new unit in Phuket, demonstrating its flexibility and proving the adaptability of its buildings and design strategies. The Phuket facility faced potential closure following its opening in late-2019, but as with all BAC investments, the ability to adapt the unit was built into its design. Phuket is operating and retains most of the skilled team, despite the airport being practically dormant.
With some airlines cutting routes altogether and others on reduced services, the times have indeed been tough, Knobel says. “This situation affects us all. Our customers as well as ourselves, so we have to be there for them."
In mid-2019, Mohammad Farran was appointed General Manager (GM) of the catering operation. He tells PAX, "The wellbeing of our personnel and their families is a priority. Our strategy has been on keeping the team together and the DNA of our brand’s unique appeal, intact."
Natchanun Suvannratana heads up the sales teams as Marketing Director for the Group. She says the Thai food sector has shown amazing resilience during the pandemic. “The Group is catching this tide with new B to C projects under Gourmet Primo."
The Gourmet Primo brand has a new GM, Kriangsak Tangvichisagul.
Meanwhile back in the catering unit, a party celebrated these achievements and the full 17-year history. With its retention of skilled team members in all areas and bolstered leadership to continue, BAC Group is moving forward while reflecting on the past.