December 1, 2015

BANGKOK, THAILAND – Mango Tree Worldwide hopes to summon the daring spirit of the ‘fire monkey’ in 2016 as it plans to open two new restaurants in Hong Kong and three more in mainland China, following the launch of the first Mango Tree in China in Qingdao in May.

Mango Tree Kowloon panorama

Tree of life: Steve Leung’s iconic interpretation of a Mango Tree sets the tone for Mango Tree Kowloon, where the cuisine sparkles as brightly as the spectacular panorama of the Hong Kong skyline

This represents the first part of an ambitious goal to launch seven Mango Tree restaurants and bistro-bars in China over the next three years, as the global lifestyle dining group celebrates winning the 2015 Excellent Thai Franchise Quality Award.

It is the third time Mango Tree has scooped the prestigious award, bestowed by the Department of Business Development, Ministry of Commerce on October 21, 2015 to recognise and honour outstanding Thai franchise brands that have achieved international success and helped promote Thai brands around the world.

Mango Tree Worldwide founder and Chief Executive Officer Pitaya Phanphensophon said it was an auspicious time for the group to expand its presence in China and Hong Kong.

Mr Phanphensophon, whose family hails from Guangdong province, said the ‘Fire Monkey’ was the most active and aggressive of the four Monkeys in the Chinese zodiac.

“Naturally dominant, he gravitates towards leadership roles and is competitive in whatever he is doing,” he said. “The main drive for whatever he embarks on is to head straight for the top and stay there. With his fire energy, this agile, impulsive Monkey often leaps where angels fear to tread.

“He is very creative, dynamic and has a particularly good talent at drawing people to him – the Fire Monkey is flamboyant and friendly, and has a large social circle. My team will feed on the at fire energy to really turn up the heat in the kitchen and as we go on with our planned expansion and quest for partners.”

Mango Tree Worldwide managing director and spokesperson Trevor MacKenzie said it was gratifying to win the franchise excellence award once again, giving added impetus to the group as it actively seeks partners around the world.

“The award recognises the effort we have put in over the years to design and implement systems and procedures to ensure that all COCA and Mango Tree restaurants around the world deliver the same authentic taste and warm, excellent service,” Mr MacKenzie said.

“We are much more than a restaurant franchise; together with our team of experienced and service-minded doers and achievers we deliver a lifestyle. Our strategy is not only to bring Thai cuisine overseas, we are bringing the whole package of Thai hospitality in a contemporary environment.

Vision & leadership: Mango Tree Worldwide founder and Chief Executive Pitaya Phanphensophon hails from Guandong province originally and is bullish about the group's China opportunities.

Vision & leadership: Mango Tree Worldwide founder and Chief Executive Pitaya Phanphensophon hails from Guandong province originally and is bullish about the group’s China opportunities.

“We are offering authentic Thai tastes, sometimes with a modern twist, or a tweak to make the most of local or seasonally available ingredients and produce, exemplified by our creative and innovative approach to cuisine and flair in presentation and plating.

“The best way to describe it are the three words that form our guiding philosophy and mantra to live and work by: ‘life.style.taste’. So to any potential franchise partners or investors in China and Macau, we are the people to talk to if you want a restaurant with more life, more style and more taste. ”

Mr MacKenzie said the group was eyeing several locations in Hong Kong but he did not wish to tip his hand as to exactly where for the time being. Mango Tree already has successful restaurants in Causeway Bay and Kowloon.

In China, feelers were out in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Sanya and Guangzhou, along with the Special Administrative Zone of Macau.

The first Mango Tree in the Middle Kingdom opened its doors to diners on April 30, 2015, with the launch of Mango Tree Qingdao, located in the beach resort boomtown’s latest luxury lifestyle mall, MixC Qingdao.

Design of the 180-seat restaurant is by Steve Leung, Mango Tree’s partner and designer in Hong Kong and Dubai, featuring a new take on the Kowloon restaurant’s famous ‘tree’ sculpture.

MacKenzie said Qingdao had been a left field but smart choice for Mango Tree to secure its China beachhead: a charming seaside resort with a young and upwardly mobile population of more than nine million, many of them possessed of a new-found love of travel and a great urge to stretch their wings, go new places and discover things for themselves.

He said one of the most exciting aspects of the Chinese market was the fact that more and more Chinese people were being introduced to Thai cuisine on the back of the huge boom in outbound Chinese tourism to Thailand.

Mango Tree’s Hong Kong and China expansion will become part of a global portfolio of more than 70 restaurants, bistros and cafes under the Mango Tree and COCA families of brands, with restaurants in key cities including Hong Kong, London, Tokyo, Dubai, Washington DC, Mumbai, Jakarta and Manila.

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