Thai Express Franchise Opportunity - VP, Dennis Ng

Date: AUG 21st, 2014

Topic: Interview with a CEO

Appointed Business Development Director of Thai Express franchise in 2004, Dennis was part of a team to take a local Montreal restaurant chain from 5 stores to the largest Thai cuisine QSR in the world. His professional background in both project management and financial management helped guide a rapid yet calculated growth of the brand across Canada. Commanding this leading banner under the MTY Group, the masters of foodservice franchising in Canada, Dennis was appointed Vice President of Thai Express in 2008 and continues to drive the sustained growth of this stand-out concept further entrenching its success in the competitive QSR landscape.

Dennis is a graduate of McGill University with a Bachelors of Commerce with a Major in Management Information Systems and a Minor in Computer Science.

Under his direction, Thai Express franchise has be recognized as an exemplary brand winning numerous awards including the Consumer’s Choice Award each and every year since 2008, as well as the Conseil Québécoise de la franchise (CQF) awards for Franchise of the Year in 2009, Outstanding Marketing Communications in 2012 and induction to the (CFQ) Hall of Fame in 2014.

BeTheBoss.ca: Tell us about the Thai Express Franchise concept.

Dennis Ng: Thai express is the leading Thai cuisine quick-service restaurant concept in the world. Our success is rooted in combining traditional Thai cuisine with new-world design and flavours. Our formula in growing our successful brand is simple; provide clients with flavourful meals tailored to their tastes that are rapidly yet masterfully cooked with the freshest ingredients in our sizziling woks. We strive for excellence and take great pride in the food that we prepare.

BTB: How and when did you become involved with Thai Express franchise?

DN: I was part of the managing group for Thai Express when it was acquired by the MTY group in 2004 and was appointed Business Development Director of Thai Express. Since then, we built a team that nurtured the brand from its original 5 locations to the largest Thai QSR concept of its kind worldwide.

BTB: What was your background prior to joining Thai Express Franchise?

DN: Prior to joining Thai Express, I held positions as a Vice-President for a financial consulting firm and Project Manager for a technology firm both of which helped provide the tools and drive to operate and expand a brand like Thai Express.

BTB: What are some of the advantages in being a Thai Express franchise business owner (franchisee)?

DN: When it comes to our franchisees they not only benefit from joining a growing national brand with tremendous potential but are also set up for success thanks to our highly competitive operating structure that allows for more room for profitability. We provide them the tools and support to build a location with striking design and train them to operate at peak efficiency to skillfully manage the long queues typically of a Thai Express restaurant.

Most importantly the Thai Express franchise menu offering is designed to allow franchisees with the flexibility to create meals that meet the specific tastes and preferences of their clients with respect to dish, protein and degree of spiciness. What’s more, they receive both dedicated operational and marketing support from our management team that furnishes the coaching and collateral to help maintain high standards of customer service to grow their business.

BTB: Who is your ideal franchise business owner (franchisee)?

DN: The idea Thai Express franchisee is an individual that takes great pride in the business they are building and takes that extra step to ensure that their operations are always their strength while also taking advantage of local marketing opportunities to expand their customer base. This is the true entrepreneurial spirit that sets themselves up to succeed by taking a proactive attitude and approach to running their business.

BTB: Tell us a little about the Fast Food Franchise Market?

DN: The Asian QSR market is highly competitive niche in the food service market as each brand presents a unique offering based on the cuisine and cooking methods of the cultures they represent. Thus there is much diversity and several dimensions on which to compete.

As a champion of Thai cuisine, Thai Express prides ourselves on preserving the authenticity of our recipes by using ingredients indigenous to Thailand and only the freshest produce possible while preparing exotic yet comforting meals in a rapid manner for the fast-paced urban environment. This is what sets the brand apart and helps us rank as the top Asian QSR in the food courts we are in.

BTB: What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?

DN: It is important to never settle for the status quo and always have the flexibility and open mind to try new things whether it be store design, menu items, operations or marketing. It is always important look past the obstacles in your way as there are always solutions to get your business where it needs to be.

BTB: Do you have a mentor and is their someone you use for inspiration?

DN: As part of the MTY group, we have a tremendous roster of executives running over 26 different foodservice banners so amongst these successful peers there is much inspiration and knowledge to draw from. The true standouts are our President and CEO Stanley Ma who began with his own QSR concept that has evolved to a master franchisor of over 26 banners and 2500 locations worldwide and our COO Claude St-Pierre who champions the organizations acquisition and expansion efforts. Their accomplishments in establishing the MTY group as a leader in the QSR domain are both inspiring and motivating but what is most impressive is that they always take the time to personally provide me with valuable advice to better our brand. Most importantly, their work ethic is truly exemplary as they are consistently the hardest working individuals in the organization. It is this drive and ambition that motivates me and the other executives day in and day out to constantly push our brands further.

BTB: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise Opportunity?

DN: Many see a franchise as an easy means to enter the restaurant business but it takes dedication and tenacity to take the proven tools and structure a franchisor provides to develop a successful and lucrative business of your own. Take advantage of the intellectual resources your franchisor can provide but use your own strengths to improve your chances at success.

BTB: In your opinion, why do you think that Thai Express Franchise Opportunity would be great for someone?

DN: Thai Express has exhibited tremendous growth in recent years through rapid expansion across the Canadian foodservice landscape providing with it an equal growth in brand equity and customer base. Since the brand is well established, it provides a significant advantage when entering a market and opening a store as local clients greatly anticipate having a new Thai Express closer to them. Given the brand’s diverse menu, outstanding branding and national marketing programs, a new franchisee is well entrenched to succeed with their Thai Express operation thus establishing a prosperous business for years to come.