• Kyodo

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With Japanese food becoming popular with Thai people these days, the Japanese restaurant business is expected to grow by 20 percent to 25 percent year-on-year in 2001 with overall market turnover of 3 billion baht ($70.7 million), according to a report from Thai Farmer Research Center Co.

The research center is an affiliate of Thai Farmers Bank.

According to the report, there are more than 300 Japanese restaurants in Thailand. Of them, 40 percent are stand-alone restaurants, 50 percent are in department stores, and 10 percent belong to hotels.

The report says that this year, many restaurants plan to expand into department stores, making an estimated 3 billion baht in turnover.

The significant growth was attributed to the rising popularity of Japanese food, which is admired by Thais for its decoration and low calories, the report says.

These days, Japanese food also has become cheaper, allowing more customers, including teenagers, to enjoy the cuisine, the report says.

Although highly competitive, there is still growth potential in the business for new investors, the report adds.

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