• Thai pizza firms expect a sales kick from World Cup coverage

    Tags: Marketing

BANGKOK -- Representatives of Pizza Hut and The Pizza Company say they expect business in Thailand to grow 15 to 20 percent as a result of TV coverage of the 2002 World Cup soccer tournament.

The event will run from May 31 until June 30, with matches played at multiple sites in Japan and South Korea.

According to a report in the Bangkok Post, Tricon Restaurants Co., operator of Thailand's Pizza Hut restaurants, is upgrading equipment and expanding its delivery service in preparation for the extra business.

The company will spend about 10 million baht (U.S. $233,000) on mobile pizza warmers for its motorcycle delivery fleet. The devices hold pizza at 82 degrees C (180 F), said Farhad Kian, operations director for Pizza Hut. The new delivery system will be introduced at 84 Pizza Huts in Bangkok.

The Pizza Company, will spend seven million baht (U.S. $163,000) promoting its new Pizza Puff product.

Pizza Hut marketing director Suwanna Usanachitt said the company will increase staff numbers at its call center to 200, up from 150, and have some 2,000 motorcycle delivery drivers on the road in June.

Additionally, since delivery constitutes 60 percent of its total sales -- and the company expects that business to grow by 20 percent in June -- Pizza Hut won't broadcast the soccer matches at its restaurants.

The Pizza Company expects its sales to rise by 15 percent during the World Cup, said chairman Bill Heinecke, who added that he expects dine-in sales to be strong, since the matches will be broadcast in the late afternoon. Delivery sales, he added, should grow by 15 percent during the month.

In 2001 Thailand's total pizza business was 2.5 billion baht (U.S. $582 million), and it's forecasted to grow by 6 percent this year.

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