Dunkin Donuts taking aim at Thai coffee market

With room for robust growth still brewing in Thailand’s coffee market, the local franchiser of Dunkin’, the famous United States chain of donut shops, said it would rebrand in the Kingdom and emphasize its surprisingly highly rated coffee in a bid to attract more white-collar and millennial customers.

“With our offensive business plan, we want to become a serious coffee player in Thailand,” said Nadim Xavier Salhani, chief executive of Mudman Public Company Ltd. “When people think of Dunkin’, we hope they think of coffee.”

Thailand was not known as a coffee-drinking country until Starbucks entered the market almost 25 years ago. Since then, the popularity of coffee has been percolating, mainly among younger, white collar, urban Thais. Coffee is projected to be a $625 million business in Thailand in 2018, although instant coffee is still the top seller by far.

Although Dunkin’ Donuts claims to be the world’s largest coffee and baked food chain, it will have to fight hard to catch up to Starbucks in Thailand. “The Dunkin’ Donuts Original Blend has distinguished itself over the last two decades by carrying the torch for the classic medium-roasted American breakfast cup against the darker-roasted onslaught of Starbucks,’’ according to the Coffee Review website.

Salhani said that Dunkin’s sales in Thailand have risen by about 10 percent so far this year and he attributes the performance to the new emphasis on coffee.

“The future of the doughnut business in Thailand may not be as positive as in the past because people are more concerned about health and the market is very competitive. This is why we are offering more coffee products,’’ he said.

In Thailand, however, coffee only accounts for about 10 percent of Dunkin’s total sales. Salhani said the goal was for coffee to make up 30 percent of the company’s sales in five years time.

Dunkin Donuts has 290 stores in Thailand, with 125 remodeled as ‘concept stores.’ The company plans on opening 12 new stores next year and opened its first drive-thru store last month.

Mudman also is the Thailand franchisee for Au Bon Pain, another United States-based bakery and coffee chain.

Photo courtesy of www.dunkindonuts.co.th/coffee