A statewide approach will ensure that entrepreneurs in every part of the Sunshine State can bring this exciting new concept to their communities
As the Thai Express™ franchise concept continues its strong growth across the United States, area developers are coming on board to help funnel growth to their cities and states. In Florida, the team of Jeff Itzcovitch and Hillel Frankel is working with Thai Express to coordinate rollout across that state, and reports indicate that they’re already well past projections for 2018.
How did you find out about Thai Express, and what made you want to assume the duties of an area developer?
Frankel: My partner, Jeff, had a relationship with MTY Franchising Group — Thai Express’ master franchisor — for many years. So when the opportunity came up to represent Thai Express and its sister franchise, Ginger Sushi Boutique™, in the state of Florida, we created a company especially for this venture.
Jeff and I are both Canadians, so we are familiar with the people behind the brands. We have seen them both all over Montreal. We know about Thai Express, we’ve seen the growth of the brand in Canada, and we believe it will do really well in the United States. The opportunity to bring an exceptionally strong Canadian name to the United States is very exciting for us.
How are you going to grow the franchise across Florida’s diverse markets?
Frankel: We have built two corporate-owned locations, one in Deerfield Beach which will operate as a Ginger Sushi Boutique, and the other in Lighthouse Point, which will be a combined location for Thai Express and Ginger Sushi Boutique. Both of those will be open by early summer, and that’s how we will introduce the concepts to those markets. The Lighthouse Point location, in particular, will be a showpiece for the brands, as well as serving as a training center for franchise owners from all across Florida. We have already hired the managers, and they have undergone training, so those two locations are going to be performing all functions right away.
As for other markets, we are already working to get people into place. We have three franchise owners signed and working on their locations in midtown Miami, Orlando and Tampa. Those will be opening soon after the corporate stores, so that’s three more markets that will see Thai Express right away.
Itzcovitch: There has been a lot of interest. We are talking anywhere from eight to 14 people per week, so we’re not having to reach out too far for prospects. We also have hired two managers who are going to assist us.
Have there been any challenges to introducing an entirely new brand?
Itzcovitch: It has been pretty smooth, largely because the company behind both brands has a very solid team. They have done an amazing job in Canada growing both the Thai Express brand and The Sushi Shop brand (the Canadian name for Ginger Sushi Boutique). It’s quite original, but similar to other concepts that prepare food fresh in front of customers. That’s an ongoing trend and something Thai Express and Ginger Sushi Boutique are well-positioned to capitalize on. You can get top-rated food at very reasonable prices. We really haven’t had any negative reaction from anyone we’ve talked to; it’s all been very positive so far.
Frankel: If anything, our only issues have been around getting the physical space ready. So far, we’ve sent new franchisees to Montreal for Discovery Days and training, and that has worked well because these people, all of whom so far have become franchise owners, are able to see a busy, active marketplace and also sit down and enjoy the food. We’ll keep doing that over the coming months, but we also look forward to when we can perform those functions right there in Florida.
Is interest coming from all over the state?
Itzcovitch: Yes. We have been hearing a lot from the Tampa and Orlando areas, but also as far south as Miami and Palm Beach. We’re not restricting ourselves geographically in any way — if anybody’s interested, we are happy to talk to them and assist them in becoming a franchise owner.
We’re ready to go with them through every step of the process, which eventually will include everything from those initial conversations through location scouting, training and whatever else they need to get open and running properly. Then we’re going to be right here, so they have a local contact to help them with any needs they have as the business goes along.
What sets Thai Express apart? What’s its potential?
Frankel: It’s a remarkable concept and something that’s very fresh and new to the U.S. market. The appeal is already showing itself: the plan was to have five or six stores in the works in 2018, and by the end of the first quarter we’d adjusted that figure upward to 10. Surpassing the yearly expectation in three months is a very good sign.
Itzcovitch: The interest is there. We’re hearing from people all over Florida, and we believe that once those first nine or 10 locations are open we’re going to see that continue to expand. There are more than 300 Thai Express locations in Canada, and when you combine the vision and professionalism of the operational team with the unique, fresh food that consumers want, it’s a very good option for someone looking to get into the restaurant business, but do so with a new idea, not just another burger franchise.
Frankel: We also benefit from some excellent demographics in the state of Florida. The population here is growing, and the food industry is growing alongside it at a nice pace. We believe that growth will continue for the foreseeable future, and we expect to grow our brands right alongside that.
Bring Thai Express to your community today
Thai Express is a low-cost investment opportunity with high potential for growth as it expands across the United States. Startup costs range from $370,900 to $832,700, depending on the model. Since 2004, Thai Express has spread across the Canadian market with a business model built for entrepreneurs who are passionate about bringing an authentic and affordable Thai food experience to their communities. The franchise fee for a Thai Express or a Ginger Sushi Boutique franchise is $30,000. For more information, download our free franchise information report.©2018 MTY Franchising USA Inc. All rights reserved. All other trademarks referenced are property of their respective owners. The information provided herein is for informational purposes only and is not intended as an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to buy, a franchise; nor is it directed to the residents of any particular jurisdiction within the U.S. or elsewhere. The following states currently regulate the offer and sale of franchises: CA, HI, IL, IN, MD, MI, MN, NY, ND, RI, SD, VA, WA and WI. If you are a resident of one of these states, or of a jurisdiction that has similar requirements, we will not offer you a franchise until we have completed the applicable registration or obtained the exemption from registration and completed the applicable disclosure requirements. Regardless of what state you reside in, an offering can only be made by a franchise disclosure document.