Monthly Archives: December 2017


BANGKOK, THAILAND: Leading Asian culinary group, COCA Restaurants, recently celebrated 60 years in business at a glittering gala ceremony at Renaissance Bangkok filled with fun, dancing and the unique COCA touch of humility and humour which has created such a loyal team and customer following over the years.

COCA Restaurants CEO Pitaya Phanphensophon, son of founder Khun Srichai Phanphensophon who launched the restaurant group in the Surawong district of Bangkok in 1957, was joined by his family and third generation siblings who are set to take the group to further successes in the future.

His eldest daughter Natalie Phanphensophon recently took over as Chief Operations Officer of the group, while NAME Phanphensophon has begun a sustainable farm operation to provide the best and healthiest vegetables to COCA Restaurants. Meanwhile, son Ryan Phanphensophon, an architect, is adding his design finesse to new restaurant projects.

“It has been quite a journey,” said Pitaya. “And it is with great pleasure I am able to celebrate this milestone with staff, some of whom have been with me for as long as thirty years, my family, and business partners who have come to join from around Asia.”

Since COCA’s launch 60 years ago, the group has grown to 23 restaurants through the region in countries including Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines. Pitaya launched Thai food chain Mango Tree restaurants with the first outlet opening in Silom in 1994, a brand that has grown to over 39 outlets around the world.

Mango Tree’s Managing Partner and Managing Director Trevor MacKenzie added that it was a great moment for the group. “We have a lot of fun together and we work hard together. But what is special is the spirit of the group that is borne out of family values. This is what creates the warmth and a feeling of belonging amongst all the team and combined with innovation is what will sustain the group for many more years to come.”

Four days of celebrations also included the Climb To Change A Life programme, which saw a team of 80 people from COCA Restaurants take 10 children with movement difficulties from the Zy Movement Foundation up Khao Daeng in the Sam Roi Yot National Park in Prachuab Kirikhan province in Southern Thailand.




COCA Restaurants CEO Pitaya Phanphensophon (third left) leads climbers to the top of Khao Daeng.

HUA HIN, THAILAND – Leading Asian restaurant group, featuring COCA and Mango Tree restaurant brands, recently welcomed their franchisee teams from around the region to a climb in Thailand’s Sam Roi Yot national park in support of the Zy Movement Foundation, an organisation assisting children born with movement difficulties.

In a moving weekend of activities, franchisee partners from Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Nepal, the Philippines and Vietnam joined the COCA and Mango Tree teams based in their Thai headquarters of Bangkok to help children from Zy Foundation climb the 750-metre Khao Daeng mountain.

Funds were raised to the tune of USD25,000 for Zy Foundation which will go towards a one-year’s worth of doctors visits for five families, training for 25 therapists specialising in assistance with children with movement difficulties and supporting future Zy Movement Foundation activities.

But it was the inspirational experience of helping and supporting the children during the difficult rocky climb, which often took up to three people per child, which left a strong impression on all participants who witnessed a level of courage and determination by the children that brought many close to tears.

“It was a moving experience for everyone,” said COCA Restaurants CEO Pitaya Phanphensophon. “We feel strongly that children deserve equal opportunities but some are less fortunate than others when born. So through this climb we are trying to create greater understanding of the millions of children with movement difficulties throughout Asia and to support and encourage the incredible efforts so far in their lives.”

Partners helped the courageous young climbers to the top of the mountain.

The Zy Movement Foundation was set up by Walter Lee, whose 11-year-old son Zy was among the 10 climbers with movement difficulties, all of whom came came with their families. For a snapshot of the climb see here:

“It means a lot to the children and their families to have this kind of support and I am very proud of them all,” Lee said. “The decency and compassion over the two days of the climb to a fellow human being by all participants, offering a hand from their hearts to realise unfulfilled dreams, is nothing short of an act of an angel. It gives the children a level of hope, dignity and camaraderie that is truly raises their spirits.”

A total of 70 people participated in the “Climb To Change A Life” project to Khao Daeng and Mango Tree’s Managing Partner and Managing Director Trevor MacKenzie said he hoped that it would lead to climbs in the countries of the restaurant group’s franchisee partners throughout Asia.

“It brought everyone together. We shared some very special moments as colleagues in the most human way possible and for this we are very grateful to the Zy Movement Foundation. The fight of the children as they climbed the mountain was a huge inspiration to us all,” he said. “There is a lot of interest to launch similar programmes overseas and we look forward to being a part of that in the years to come.”

Mango Tree Worldwide operates a total of 62 outlets worldwide, including 23 COCA Restaurants, 12 Mango Tree restaurants, 12 Mango Tree Cafés, seven Mango Tree Kitchens, four Mango Tree Bistros and one Mango Tree Deli, plus two Mango Chilis.