• Thai pizza chain aiming for 50% growth

Narai Pizzeria in Thailand wants to grab a 25 percent slice of the local pizza market by the end of 2002.

The 27-store chain currently owns nearly 15 percent of the market -- up 11 percent since 1997.

According to a report in The Nation, the chain claims to sell the "original Thai pizza," and its customers believe it.

As is the case most everywhere else, Pizza Hut dominates the market, and the Pizza Company holds the number-two position.

Despite that, its owner, MD Pichet Nithivasin believes that its current rate of expansion will help it achieve that one-quarter share of the market.

"(G)iven recent store openings and the growing success of our home-delivery service, we are confident we can achieve 25 percent before the end of the year," Nithivasin said. "Our delivery service is proving so popular that it makes sense to concentrate on expanding (and streamlining) this segment of the business."

Proving that the pizza business is somewhat similar all over, Nithivasin said Narai will gain customer attention through special promotions aimed at teens and families.

"We don't have the enormous advertising or promotional budgets of the international companies, so we have to rely on customer loyalty," he said. And, despite his company's small budget, Nithivasin said his promotions will be widely varied.

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