Friday, 21 January 2011

Pumpkin deal sprouts growth


Photo by: Will Baxter
Employees of a Blue Pumpkin café in Siem Reap wait on customers in November of last year.

via CAAI

Friday, 21 January 2011 15:01 Craig Miles

The Blue Pumpkin café empire is rapidly expanding in Cambodia, targeting growth in Phnom Penh on the back of a new partnership.

In a deal brokered in August, chain owner Arnaud Curtat, sold a share of the firm to Belgian businessman Alain Dupuis for an undisclosed sum.

Dupuis is chief executive officer of Ream Resort Development, which is planning a five-star hotel and luxury villa complex near Sihanoukville, according to the company’s website.

“Alain is someone who trusts us and we will have a long relationship with him,” Curtat, who started his business in the tourist hub of Siem Reap, said.

“At some point we had to expand but we couldn’t do it on our own. We had to get fresh ideas.

“My wife and I, however, are still the directors and running it.”

The chain is now targeting growth with a ninth Siem Reap restaurant set to open on Sivutha Boulevard in two weeks.

“Since we have a new business partner, we feel more confident to be able to expand,” he added.

Another Blue Pumpkin is planned for Siem Reap International Airport – taking its presence in the city to 10 restaurants.

Recently, The Blue Pumpkin launched in Phnom Penh. Its first café opened at Monument Books on Norodom Boulevard last month.

A second café is set to open on Sisowath Quay on the capital’s riverside late this month or early next, with yet another scheduled for Phnom Penh’s airport in one month’s time.

Curtat said he did not think there was the capacity to open any more outlets in Siem Reap, but rather aimed for expansion in Cambodia’s capital, where there were more potential customers.

“We can open more shops in Phnom Penh. We could open 10 to 20 more,” he said.

The Blue Pumpkin, which makes its own baked goods and ice creams, plans to offer a delivery service and catering for events in Phnom Penh.

Last year, Blue Pumpkin closed a branch in Siem Reap’s Lucky Mall as it was not generating enough foot traffic to be profitable.

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