The lights are green for the GK Invest group, which is actively pursuing its momentum. With a turnover of €146 million for 140 Pitaya restaurants at the end of 2021, it plans no less than sixty openings this year under this label but also under the new brands Anjha, Poké Thaï, Smash Smash and many others. Not to mention the inauguration, within two months, of a first food court called Monkey Market in the 4 Temps shopping center in La Défense, as revealed by Kadir Guclu, CEO of the group.
It is one of the star brands of the moment. Since its launch in Bordeaux in 2010, the Thai cuisine brand, which first gradually forged its model, before accelerating in 2015, the year the franchise was launched, has experienced exponential growth. 14 restaurants at the end of 2017, 49 in 2019, 86 in 2020, nearly 140 announced at the end of 2021 and nearly sixty in the pipeline for 2022 with a presence in London, Benelux, Switzerland and the Middle East, then targets in Spain, Portugal, Germany or Poland. As Kadir Guclu, its president and founder, explains to snacking.fr, this deployment comes in response to a marked enthusiasm of the French for a rejuvenated and simplified Thai cuisine.
“It is originally a complex cuisine, through its flavors, its ingredients and its recipes, we have made it accessible to as many people as possible..
For partner restaurateurs, first-time entrepreneurs or multi-franchisees, it is also a concept of street food, in a wok and assembled in the eyes of customers, which is well-oiled, easy to appropriate with cutting-edge, qualitative recipes, based on few ingredients. ” It is the result of two years of research and development that preceded the franchise launch in 2015. The time to choose the right ingredients, the right partners and build the right recipes“, explains Kadir Guclu who was then able to reproduce the model with agility, and in multiformat (he also opened as an island in an E.Leclerc in Rennes-Cleunay) around fifteen signature recipes like pad Thai, curry, nua kao, Thai beef, loc…. After working with chef Nathalie N’Guyen, who signed many dishes, it was the French starred chef Michel Sarran who made his contribution in the spring of 2021 with his Thai duck breast before pass the torch to Thai starred chef Chatchaï Klanklong who at the end of the year proposed the SYN (Salmon Yum Noodle).
A winning model duplicated on the Indian, the poké, the smash burger…
This recipe for success, coupled with perfect operational control and the rigor of doing things well, Kadir and his teams have begun to use on other brands. Concepts which have matured for many months, have already begun to open and which should develop in cascade in the year following the codes of Pitaya for investments, all inclusive of the order of 2,000 €/m². After checking the poké theme with a first Thai Poke opened in February in Metz then that of the smash burger with smash-smash in Paris, it’s soon the turn ofAnjha, to take their first steps into the world of Indian cuisine. It will be in March in Clermont-Ferrand and Lyon then in Paris-La Défense in April-May. ” We are aiming for around fifteen openings on each of these brands by the end of the year. “, explains the CEO of the group who does not intend to stop there since other brands will also see the light of day, including one around Italian cuisine currently being tested in Lyon, another fried chicken but not only . ” And these are certainly not virtual brands from some dark kitchen “, wishes to clarify Kadir. He defends physical restaurants that allow the development of a real customer experience and contact with consumers.
Monkey Market, multi-brand food courts in La Défense, Lyon and Châtelet
With now in its purse, a skewer of concepts, the GK Invest group is moving on to the next step. It will open, in the coming weeks, a first food court of 400-450 m², in the Westfield shopping center in La Défense where 4 of its brands, including Pitaya and Anjha, will be present. An imminent project which should precede another establishment, this time in Lyon before the installation of Monkey Market also in the heart of the Westfield shopping center in Paris-Châtelet. Around a central seating area, customers will be able to flit from one concept to another and in particular taste all the new products to come at Pitaya, including a range of tapas and Thai skewers as well as an enriched collection of desserts. Enough to give another boost to the development of the group, which is counting on around sixty new Pitaya addresses and around fifteen for each of the new brands, i.e. a total of nearly 230 restaurants at the end of 2022. Hot news for the group which does not hasn’t finished bouncing…
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