Apsara French restaurant

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Ivor the Engine

Nowhere man
I'm not sure if it was @Cent who said it (about another establishment) - "You need to persevere for at least two years"
It’s a very hard climate right now. We have a few farang places in Sisaket that have decided to ‘call it a day’ (3 out of 5). I would think it’s difficult to cover the ‘troughs’-when the ‘peaks’ decrease.
I wish them well !


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Coffee

Surin Dinosaur
"You need to persevere for at least two years"

Sounds a bit closer to what another wrote about Brexit.

If one has tried new techniques to be successful which haven't succeeded why should they be compelled to believe another year will make a difference.

They clearly had set ambitious targeted income goals which haven't been met.
The same could be stated about a whole host of farang dining and drinking establishments not excluding our own member's 214 Diner (or Farang Connection after Martin) that couldn't make continuing worthwhile.
 

Prakhonchai Nick

You chose a custom title
Sounds a bit closer to what another wrote about Brexit.

If one has tried new techniques to be successful which haven't succeeded why should they be compelled to believe another year will make a difference.

They clearly had set ambitious targeted income goals which haven't been met.
The same could be stated about a whole host of farang dining and drinking establishments not excluding our own member's 214 Diner (or Farang Connection after Martin) that couldn't make continuing worthwhile.

It was the same here in Prakhonchai after CO-CO sold Coffee Corner. It slowly went downhill, and is no more.

Apsara would certainly have flourished in Pattaya, Phuket or Bangkok, but the majority of folk in Surin, I believe, were not ready for something more upmarket that their usual dining experiences.
 

Yorky

Fullritis Member
Apsara would certainly have flourished in Pattaya, Phuket or Bangkok, but the majority of folk in Surin, I believe, were not ready for something more upmarket that their usual dining experiences.

It may have been beyond the means of the majority of folks in Surin rather than "not ready".

Didn't "Cheffy's" experience with his establishment indicate that?
 

CO-CO

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It was the same here in Prakhonchai after CO-CO sold Coffee Corner. It slowly went downhill, and is no more.

Apsara would certainly have flourished in Pattaya, Phuket or Bangkok, but the majority of folk in Surin, I believe, were not ready for something more upmarket that their usual dining experiences.



Coffee Corner ran as a project for 3 years and I sold it for more than I paid for it.


People said I was mad when I glazed in 2 sides of what had been a double shophouse noodle restaurant with bare floors, walls and fully shuttered. I added proper tables with red table cloths, a couple of red sofas, a 40" TV and a 106,000 Baht double-head coffee machine (that served about 5 coffees a day).


My target was simple ..................... 'break-even'. I was prepared to fund it for 12 months. Having abandoned the UK (and gainful employment) at age 52 I needed something to occupy my time/interest.


I paid the rent of 9,000 Baht because we lived upstairs. I borrowed £10,000 over 2 years and spent circa 650,000 Baht on fixtures, fittings and improvements. We lived out of the place food-wise but I paid for my own drinks; if I bought a round for 'the lads' (to stimulate further sales and as a thank you) I paid cost price. I worked on a simple 100% mark-up, 50% gross profit margin on food and a sensible mark up on beers. Wages were low, sister-in-law employed as our cook, minimum wage paid + the staff shared all tips. The missus received a 10,000 Baht 'bonus' every month after month 2. Our takings were 40,000 Baht a week - half of which was taken on a Friday.

I sold for 1,000,001 Baht, having made it known that I would sell to the first serious bidder over 1m.

It was a worthwhile project and one that I consider to be a success. It worked because our targets were low - I think we needed to take 500 Baht per day. As far as I know I am the only person to have sold a Farang business in the area....... others seemed to fall by the wayside.
 

Yorky

Fullritis Member
I would certinly have visited Apsara had I lived in Surin. Off to Siem Reap on Saturday for 3 days, when I will be enjoying some up-market food and cheap untaxed wine . One needs a balance and sometnmes pie/chips or fish/chips does one good between gastronomic cuisine.

You don't need to explain that to me. My gastronomic delights include both high quality ingredients and beans on toast, as is my current want. It even includes some French fare.
 

nomad97

Tyrannosaurus Rex
Staff member
I have enjoyed dining in fine restaurants for much of my working career. However, now that I am retired I have to finance a family of four on what must be considered a fixed income, one that has seen a very significant drop over the past three years, and I no longer have the spare cash to splash on a fine dining experience on a regular basis. We can dine out as a family, and often do so, on less than 300 baht for four. I doubt that 300 baht would cover the cost of a meal for one, let alone four, had we chosen to dine at Apsara's Restaurant. Yes, most Americans, Australians and British people living in Thailand have seen their income drop as the Baht continues to strengthen against all major currencies. Three years ago we were getting 53 - 55 Baht to the £, quite recently this had fallen to 36 - 37 Baht to the £. A similar story is told for the US and Australian $'s. I am sorry to say, any business in Thailand that is dependent on support from the Farang community to succeed is going to feel the adverse effect of the reduced spending power in the Expat's pockets.
 

CO-CO

You chose a custom title
For just over 300 Baht you could have this:-

Morrison cheese slate reduced to £8 from £10.

IMG_20200102_134703.jpg
 

Prakhonchai Nick

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With my 2 kids about to return to Bangkok after the holidays, we will be eating out tonight at Baan Peet in Prakhonchai. Probably the best restaurant in town, and one that my wife and I visit perhaps monthly. Cost likely to be in 4 figures, but mai phen rai. Can't take it with you.

https://www.facebook.com/Baanpeet/
 

Merlin

Surin Founding Father
Nomad, you've summed up the situation for most if not all Farang living in and around Surin. My own visits to restaurants have been scaled down by roughly the percentage difference between the peak and trough of exchange rates quoted in your post. Rather than eat out less frequently, we've eaten at the less expensive places. There has to be a compromise though: I had some very unpleasant crispy fried chicken gristle on New Year's Eve, and would not have fed it to the dog. On the other hand, steaks at Apsara were always perfect. Yer pays yer munny and yer takes yer choice. If the fried gristle restaurant shut tomorrow, I couldn't care less, and there are probably hundreds of other places in Surin already that would provide better fare. Sadly, I have yet to visit any other restaurant here that provides the consistency of food, menu, cooking, and décor found at Apsara.

It is a game of numbers though.

A tv documentary today featured some hi-so Thai kids sampling restaurants in Chinatown. They enjoyed eating dishes that cost up to 1,500 thb each, and the waiting list at one of them for reservations is months-long. Every seat was taken (obviously) and the chef has a Michelin star to her name. They can only accommodate a tiny proportion of those who wish to eat there.

There simply aren't enough high-rollers in Surin to keep a place like that in business, and - as a result - prices (and quality) tend to be low, but new places open on a regular basis (mostly at the lower end of the quality scale) as regular as they and others close down.

Back to New Year's Eve, and ours was a party of 10. We had booked a table in advance, and the restaurant asked us to order our dishes on the day that the booking was made, stating that we'd have a long wait for the kitchen if we didn't. We sat down at 7pm, ready to eat. We were the only diners there! It remained the same until around 9pm, when others gradually arrived, and it was almost full at midnight, but not many were eating... There were more waitresses there than diners for much of the evening. This despite live music. Oddly, a second band was supposed to take over the entertainment - but they either failed to arrive or (just as likely) were cancelled by the owners as the place was still empty when the first band left.

There's little doubt that another Western style restaurant will open in the weeks or months to come, hoping to improve on Apsara's experience. A year's rental in advance should prove enough to see them out too.
 

Yorky

Fullritis Member
This should give pause to many an intrepid entrepreneur considering opening or purchasing a Brit-fare eatery in Surin.

I stand by the theory that an eating/drinking establishment, wherever that may be located, is successful in line with the congeniality of it's host/hostess (given that the food and drink are decent and not overpriced).
 

gotlost

Kap Chong R Us Member
This should give pause to many an intrepid entrepreneur considering opening or purchasing a Brit-fare eatery in Surin.
 

ColinW

Cannot re - Member
I stand by the theory that an eating/drinking establishment, wherever that may be located, is successful in line with the congeniality of it's host/hostess (given that the food and drink are decent and not overpriced).
The owner of Apsara is as pleasant and congenial a host as you could wish to meet.
Unfortunately as Merlin has stated earlier while the food IMHO was very good and not overpriced for the quality, the restaurant opening happened when, if I am typical, many Farang had to start watching their spending and reduce the number of times they eat out in the more upmarket restaurants.
Whatever the future holds for the owner I hope it brings the success he deserves
 

Yorky

Fullritis Member
....the restaurant opening happened when, if I am typical, many Farang had to start watching their spending and reduce the number of times they eat out in the more upmarket restaurants.

I my case (being British) the restaurant opened almost 3 years after the pound went to ratshit following the Brexit referendum and caused me to consider tightening if not needing to tighten my belt.
 
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