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  • Thai pizza company disputes rival's World Cup sales score

BANGKOK, Thailand -- The World Cup soccer tournament was a sales victory for both Pizza Hut and The Pizza Company, Thailand's largest pizza competitors. Which company won the numbers game, however, remains in dispute.

According to a report in the Bangkok Post, Tricon Restaurants (Thailand) Ltd., the country's Pizza Hut franchisee, and Minor Food Group, the parent firm of The Pizza Company, both use Nielsen Media Research to compile their numbers. The Pizza Company, however, claims the figures gathered don't reflect which company truly came out ahead.

A usage and attitude study of 320 Bangkok residents, ages 15 to 54 and using Pizza Hut home delivery, was conducted by Nielsen on behalf of Tricon during May and June. Nielsen's numbers showed Pizza Hut had a brand share of 38 percent, compared to The Pizza Company's 18 percent.

Numbers revealed by Tricon showed that Pizza Hut had the highest proportion of regular home delivery users at 67 percent, compared with 33 percent for The Pizza Co.

When asked to confirm the numbers presented by Tricon, Minor Food Group marketing director Veena Ongcsarit called the numbers "the polar opposite of what our research from Nielsen shows."

Ongcsarit declined to give numbers to prove otherwise, explaining that Minor's status as a public company forces it to keep performance results rivate until quarterly reports are announced.

"The figures Tricon gave are just a snapshot of their performance," she said. "But the test is what's their real consumption? How did they get those numbers? What's their brand usage?"

Meanwhile, Pizza Hut claimed record-breaking delivery sales during the month, posting numbers that were 46 percent higher than the same time last year, said Suwanna Usanachitt, marketing director of Tricon Restaurants (Thailand) Ltd. Combined, delivery, dine-in and takeout experienced 19 percent growth.

Minor reported 40 percent growth in deliveries, exceeding its initial target of 15 percent.

According to the same study by Nielsen, pizza and chicken concepts got the biggest sales kick out of the June soccer tournament. Pizza commanded an 86 percent share of all fast-food deliveries, chicken came in at 11 percent, and burgers trailed far behind at 3 percent.

Currently, category share in the Thai fast-food industry breaks down into three major segments: pizza (58 percent), chicken (35 percent) and others (7 percent).

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