Apsara French restaurant

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Croc

Cannot re - Member
It is just a big loss for the Surin community, it will take more time for people's tastes to evolve in certain circles ... don't criticise things you don't know or find to expensive for you ... there are more people around that might enjoy these things !!!
A shame I never had the opportunity to visit and experience the place.
 

Ivor the Engine

Nowhere man
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.
Coco, just wondering.
If you had your time again and were the age when you arrived in Thailand NOW, in this climate, would you consider opening a restaurant in Surin/Buriram provinces????
Or other ideas?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Yorky

Fullritis Member
Other than those who attended the opening night, how many other SurinFarang members frequented Apsara?
 

CO-CO

You chose a custom title
Coco, just wondering.
If you had your time again and were the age when you arrived in Thailand NOW, in this climate, would you consider opening a restaurant in Surin/Buriram provinces????
Or other ideas?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


A good question.

Yes I would.


Whilst spending power is down, Farang numbers are up.

The secret remains low overheads and low expectations, whilst providing quality at a fair price.


I would choose Buriram over Surin (and Prakhonchai). There is money about in Buriram and I would aim at the Thai market.
 

Coffee

Surin Dinosaur
Other than those who attended the opening night, how many other SurinFarang members frequented Apsara?

Please define frequent[ed].

I don't believe that once every other month is frequent.
Is once per month frequent ?
 

Yorky

Fullritis Member
Please define frequent[ed].

I don't believe that once every other month is frequent.
Is once per month frequent ?

I don't know - in the 9 months that they have been open, how many times have you eaten there?
 

Prakhonchai Nick

You chose a custom title
A good question.

Yes I would.


Whilst spending power is down, Farang numbers are up.

The secret remains low overheads and low expectations, whilst providing quality at a fair price.


I would choose Buriram over Surin (and Prakhonchai). There is money about in Buriram and I would aim at the Thai market.

I think you would come unstuck. Most Thais prefer to avoid anything farang orientated if possible. It would need to be a Thai business with you, the farang, hidden in the background -just paying the bills :D Then it might prosper. But I think Surin has more money than Buriram.
 
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CO-CO

You chose a custom title
I think you would come unstuck. Most Thais prefer to avoid anything farang orientated if possible. It would need to be a Thai business with you, the farang, hidden in the background -just paying the bills :D Then it might prosper. But I think Surin has more money than Buriram.


You are wrong about the Thais..... I am not talking about village Thais, but those with money and a more open mind. We probably had half a dozen Thais/Thai couples who would come in for decent steak and to try western food. Muang Buriram has a fair few that fit the bill. I haven't noticed that in Surin or other locales. Apart from the financial side there is the cultural aspect. In this respect Nick is right about many Thai spouses prefering Thai - he has said before that money spent on more expensive western food would be wasted on his family. Colin, Alan and myself (and a handful of others) are fortunate in that our partners embrace western cuisine - that is not common (it is more costly! :grinning:) and it was not unusual at Coffee Corner, and Timeout, to see the males sitting together eating western food and the Thai wives sitting together eating Thai.

We probably made more profit out of them than many of the resident Farangs who were mainly seen on a Friday night. To add to the answer to Ivor's question, it was also important to have the benefit of Farangs visiting the area (their teerak usually taking them from Pattaya etc to the village) - they would always order off the top of the menu and were genuinely grateful to get reasonable quality western food in the boonies. Additionally, the one month on/one month off crowd - usually from the oil and gas sector - were important as they had money to spend and were not interested in a 30 Baht khao pad. I suspect that both those numbers are down on what I experienced.
 
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Cent

FORUM SPONSOR
"and I would aim at the Thai market"

Coco/All,

Our place now is mostly Thai customers these days. 80%? 85%? We are close to the main government hospital. Our customers are mostly the doctors and nurses from there. Many have some experience overseas while in school and enjoy farang dishes as well as good Thai foods. They also have the income and seem to eat out fairly frequently. We still have western customers that enjoyed our previous place and come mainly for the foods, as we have no bar or seating outside for the farangs to gather and chat, are off the beaten downtown path, but still have basically the same menu and mixture of western and Thai foods. We also get many new customers, both westerners and Thais, first timers and returns that live out of Surin or even are just passing through once in a while and looking for decent western dishes, and their spouses, usually Thai, like our Thai foods they can have while hubby has his farang fare he misses. Word of mouth and our Facebook Page for the business, along with Trip Advisor, has been very helpful bringing in new customers. As I have stated before it is a good mix of customers and dishes that most can enjoy and many come back again and again when they can and are in the area.

Being strictly farang food oriented I do not think most places, especially in a smaller city like Surin, can survive in the long run and with the cyclical nature of the industry (unless there are extremely few competitors, and they have a wide variety of farang dishes and not just one cuisine), and outside of the main farang oriented areas. If we only had western dishes we would be hard pressed to make it here, even with our wide variety of western dishes, western breakfasts, sandwiches, burgers and fries, Mexican, Italian, American, etc. As it stands now, with our low overhead and costs, the varied mix of what we can offer, we are actually doing fine where we are and with our mix of our customer base. We are lucky that we have a few very popular western dishes that we have found the Thais love and seem to almost always order along with their usual Thai dishes. Having unique offerings not found elsewhere helps as well, all in an affordable pricing for most. Nothing fancy, nothing hi-so, and not catering to that market anyways, not having a lot of farangs sitting about drinking and being noisy and spouting swears at high volumes also helps gain Thai custom. We are basically a family place these days and have many Thai families coming in all the time, some almost daily, or at least a few times a week.

It works for us. Not hugely profitable, but more than most would suspect, and plenty to pay the bills, and make a decent profit that makes it worth the effort.

Thai families are a market you cannot crack with many farangs sitting about drinking and causing a ruckus. And they are a big market looking for good food, both Thai and western, in a safe, quiet for the most part, place to enjoy their meal with family and friends. They (Thai families) want a restaurant, not a pub with pool tables and loud music, and a variety of foods they know and enjoy done well, and some dishes they can experiment with that other Thai friends have told them are quite tasty, even though farang fare.

Just my thoughts and opinions and experience.
 
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nomad97

Tyrannosaurus Rex
Staff member
"and I would aim at the Thai market"

Coco/All,

Our place now is mostly Thai customers these days. 80%? 85%? We are close to the main government hospital. Our customers are mostly the doctors and nurses from there. Many have some experience overseas while in school and enjoy farang dishes as well as good Thai foods. They also have the income and seem to eat out fairly frequently. We still have western customers that enjoyed our previous place and come mainly for the foods, as we have no bar or seating outside for the farangs to gather and chat, are off the beaten downtown path, but still have basically the same menu and mixture of western and Thai foods. We also get many new customers, both westerners and Thais, first timers and returns that live out of Surin or even are just passing through once in a while and looking for decent western dishes, and their spouses, usually Thai, like our Thai foods they can have while hubby has his farang fare he misses. Word of mouth and our Facebook Page for the business, along with Trip Advisor, has been very helpful bringing in new customers. As I have stated before it is a good mix of customers and dishes that most can enjoy and many come back again and again when they can and are in the area.

Being strictly farang food oriented I do not think most places, especially in a smaller city like Surin, can survive in the long run and with the cyclical nature of the industry (unless there are extremely few competitors, and they have a wide variety of farang dishes and not just one cuisine), and outside of the main farang oriented areas. If we only had western dishes we would be hard pressed to make it here, even with our wide variety of western dishes, western breakfasts, sandwiches, burgers and fries, Mexican, Italian, American, etc. As it stands now, with our low overhead and costs, the varied mix of what we can offer, we are actually doing fine where we are and with our mix of our customer base. We are lucky that we have a few very popular western dishes that we have found the Thais love and seem to almost always order along with their usual Thai dishes. Having unique offerings not found elsewhere helps as well, all in an affordable pricing for most. Nothing fancy, nothing hi-so, and not catering to that market anyways, not having a lot of farangs sitting about drinking and being noisy and spouting swears at high volumes also helps gain Thai custom. We are basically a family place these days and have many Thai families coming in all the time, some almost daily, or at least a few times a week.

It works for us. Not hugely profitable, but more than most would suspect, and plenty to pay the bills, and make a decent profit that makes it worth the effort.

Thai families are a market you cannot crack with many farangs sitting about drinking and causing a ruckus. And they are a big market looking for good food, both Thai and western, in a safe, quiet for the most part, place to enjoy their meal with family and friends. They (Thai families) want a restaurant, not a pub with pool tables and loud music, and a variety of foods they know and enjoy done well, and some dishes they can experiment with that other Thai friends have told them are quite tasty, even though farang fare.

Just my thoughts and opinions and experience.
One thing @Cent did not mention, the farang food on offer is very tasty, fills the plate and more some, and is reasonably priced. I think I said it earlier on this thread, I do not enjoy Nouvelle Cuisine. For me, Nouvelle Cuisine means small portions at inflated prices. Give me a hale and hearty meal at an affordable price any time. Yes, and I will say this, Starbeam's Philadephia Steak sandwich with an ample portion of crinkle-cut chips is excellent value for money.
 

CO-CO

You chose a custom title
One thing @Cent did not mention, the farang food on offer is very tasty, fills the plate and more some, and is reasonably priced. I think I said it earlier on this thread, I do not enjoy Nouvelle Cuisine. For me, Nouvelle Cuisine means small portions at inflated prices. Give me a hale and hearty meal at an affordable price any time. Yes, and I will say this, Starbeam's Philadephia Steak sandwich with an ample portion of crinkle-cut chips is excellent value for money.


But Nouvelle cuisine will be better for your lean, mean dietary targets !! :laughing::laughing:




Who said life was fair...........
 

nomad97

Tyrannosaurus Rex
Staff member
As you know, I am married with two teenage daughters. I cook a lot of English type food and my Thai wife has learnt over the years how to cook many of these dishes too. While I can cook a couple of Thai signature dishes, like "cow pat moo", I seldom try the more exotic Thai dishes. We often sit down together for a shared meal, especially at weekends, but weekday evenings we usually go our separate ways, me with English food and the girls with Thai. Their preference is usually fish or seafood orientated, plus a smattering of offerings from one of the evening markets. If my wife's and daughter's tastes are typical of what the average Thai person enjoys, I would say they like many dishes on the table at the same time from which they can pick and choose. In contrast, I do not enjoy picking from many dishes and look for a meal with all the ingredients on a single plate, e.g. roast beef and Yorkshire pudding with vegetables and gravy. In essence, while we are one family our eating habits are poles apart. How then, can we eat out as a family and satisfy our different tastes? I dislike the majority of Thai restaurants and they dislike any restaurants serving predominantly western food. For us, for our family of four, the answer is the food hall in Surin's Robinson's . We each get to choose what we want to eat from a large selection on display. Further, it is usually of a very high quality and at a very reasonable price.

P.S. One word of warning. I have found out from first-hand experience, not all food halls are equal. I was very disappointed with the offerings on display in Buriram.
 
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