Minor Group aims to make Thailand region’s food tech center


Minor Group, the food, retail, and hotel conglomerate founded by American William Heinecke, said last week it will work with two technology accelerator firms to create a unicorn startup with the goal of making Thailand the food technology center of Southeast Asia.

Minor has chosen to work with Disrupt Technology Venture and 500 TukTuks to host a business and technology hackathon called “Minor Tasting The Future” in early December. The aim is to find the new disruptors in the food industry. A hackathon is an event lasting several days during which tech experts engage in collaborative programming and design.

The company said it would invite over 100 participants, mentors and “innovators around Thailand to reimagine the future of food service and food retail to serve the evolving demands of the 70 million Thai consumers in the next 50 years.”

Thailand’s agriculture and food industries are considered national strengths, with the country positioning itself as “The Kitchen of the World.” Thailand is the only net food exporter in Asia, and advanced agriculture and food processing are among the industries receiving support under Thailand 4.0, the national strategy for advanced development.

The hackathon hosts’ goal of making Thailand Southeast Asia’s food technology center fits perfectly with the aims of Thailand 4.0.

William Heinecke, the son of a Voice of America correspondent in Bangkok, founded his first company in Thailand when he was a teenager, and it eventually grew into Minor Group. Aside from owning dozens of luxury hotels and resorts in Thailand and abroad, and importing global retail brands, his company has been a force in quick-service restaurants in the Kingdom.

Heinecke was considered the pioneer of American fast food in Thailand, betting that Thais would like pizza in the 1980s when others said Asians would not eat bread and cheese. He owned Thailand’s first Pizza Hut franchise and now has his own brand and chain named The Pizza.

The founder will be among the mentors at the hackathon, along with Sompoat Chansomboon of DTAC, and Kraiting Poonpol of 500 TukTuks and Disrupt.

Among the areas they will be asking the tech experts to brainstorm on are the digitization of restaurants, the future of dining for the aging society, the future of dining for the hyper millennial, the future of the franchise, the future of food retail service, and delivery 4.0 and beyond.

The hosts have said the goal is to develop ideas that will result in a startup venture they can fund that will drive the future direction of the retail food business in the Kingdom.

Photo courtesy of https://www.disruptignite.com

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