May 25 2021  |  Catering

Bangkok Air Catering is tactful in Thailand

By Jane Hobson

This is a special feature from PAX International's June 2021 Asia-Pacific digital edition.

Bangkok Air Catering has opened 14 business-to-consumer outlets

Thailand did well to manage COVID-19 in the first year of the pandemic, but in 2021, containment has proven more difficult. According to the World Health Organization, Thailand reported 2,256 new confirmed cases on May 14, 2021, the day this article was written. This is a significant increase from the one confirmed case on the same day in 2020. The country has had 96, 050 confirmed cases and 548 deaths to date and has administered nearly 2 million vaccine doses.

With tourism at a halt in Thailand, Bangkok Air Catering spent much of the last year focused on its diversification strategy and bolstering its other core businesses. These units include premium hospital catering (Gourmet House Culinary Care), Gourmet House Group of Restaurants (Al Saray, Brasserie 9 and Ruen Noppagao) and food production (Gourmet Primo). But, with cases on the rise, the performance of each business remains unpredictable.

“The third outbreak in Thailand is a huge wave that wiped out any growth momentum that the restaurant business sector just gained after the second wave subsided,” Linus A.E. Knobel, Managing Director of BAC Group tells PAX International.

Other than airline catering unit itself, Al Saray, Brasserie 9 and Ruen Noppagao have been most affected due to the restrictions, allowing only takeout and delivery. In the premium hospitality catering sector, business for Gourmet House Culinary Care has been slightly less gloomy, with revenue jumping more than 40 percent compared to the same period last year, Knobel says.

“Our aim is to keep operations running, retain jobs, and ensure our people are safe and well taken care of during times of hardship, despite our revenue shortfalls,” he says.

Gourmet Primo positive
In a move to bulk up its business-to-consumer revenue in the domestic market, BAC opened its Gourmet Primo first bakery shop “Gourmet Food to Go” at Foodland Supermarket in October. Now, the venture has grown to 14 outlets, plus one additional outlet at a BTS SkyTrain station. The shops offer grab-and-go options with artisan breads, pastries, salad, sandwiches and pre-order birthday cakes.

“The shop has been positively received by local shoppers and office workers,” Knobel says. “Already, we have seen that people who use supermarkets and office commuters are eager to buy wholesome food made with pure ingredients. And that’s our specialty.”

The company has plans to launch six additional outlets the coming months.

Deli delights
Under the Gourmet Primo brand BAC Group has also launched eatfit and skydeli. The first a healthy meal delivery service. With the slogan “Healthfully delicious,” BAC tapped its experience in-house nutritionist, research and development team and international chefs to create healthy food and beverages for delivery in thoughtful packaging. The range includes Asian and western hot dishes, salads, sandwiches, cold pressed juices, protein drinks and snacks. Delivery is available through the e-commerce eatfit shop, Facebook and Line.

“We can honestly say that everything on the eatfit menu is satisfying, calorie-controlled and nutritionally balance,” Knobel tells PAX.

skydeli brings BAC’s lengthy experience in airline catering to customers on the ground. The skydeli shops offer gourmet inflight hot dishes, salads, desserts and juice in meal boxes. Featuring the slogan “Take a journey to deli-delights,” Knobel says the shops are located in BTS stations Sala Daeng and Chong Nonsi.

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