If you had the chance to wonder around the various Soi’s in the Town in Town area in Lat Phrao, Bangkok, there is a chance that you may come across a very unique stall selling pizza. This bastion of fine Italian culinary art is the idea of successful entrepreneur Yupin Mongkolsern, with some engineering assistance from her Austrian born husband Willy. Among the various stalls selling traditional Thai street cuisine you can have the chance to experience some of the finest pizza you could ever taste. All Yupin’s creations have a touch of surprise, from her Spinach pizza, with a touch of garlic and oregano, to her pizza formaggio with that true mozzarella, all based on her uniquely created pizzaola sauce bases. All of these pizza’s are cooked by Willy’s unique wood-fire oven, where you can be assured of a taste sensation second to none.
Pizza Aroy (or Tasty Pizza) as they call their store is a perfect example of the growing base of innovative mobile based food industry in Bangkok, a trend in food service that is set to grow substantially in the future.
Although the operation looks simple, there has no doubt been years of thinking and experimentation behind what Pizza Aroy offers. Each recipe must have taken many tries to bring the taste up to the perfection of today. The wood-fire oven itself, on the top of a van, is really a beautiful and precise piece of engineering.
One of the great aspects of the mobile food concept taking Bangkok by storm is that many of the pioneering entrepreneurs are willing to share their hard-earned secrets and help others start up around the country. In this way it is possible that some of these businesses will very soon spring up to become very well known brands within the Thai economy.
The streets are going up-market and this is a trend here to stay in the metropolises around South-East Asia.
Now how do you get into this?
First you have to have the idea. Then you have to develop the recipes. This the author can tell you from his personal experience that it takes time and this is the real investment that you have to make. Then you have to develop a way of preparing, processing, and serving the food to customers in an effective and efficient way, something that will also take a long time to perfect.
The you have to position your food and brand it. Keep it very direct and simple.
The whole package you develop, whether it be pizza, sandwiches, gelati ice cream, meat pies, or even local delicacies must stun and inspire your customers. Once you create your sensation, other interested parties will come to see you and you can either train them or franchise them and do your little bit to promote new entrepreneurs.
The biggest cost of doing this is your time and imagination. You are creating something new, even if you are offering a food that everyone already accepts. Then you have to build your stall and cooking equipment, if necessary, which could be an investment of $1-20K, depending on what you need to do. Finally you may want to put it all on a van so you can go to your customers and very quickly set up and pack up in places you may only rent during certain times of the day.
The mobile stall industry is one of the most rapidly growing food sectors in the region and entrepreneurs like Yupin are the avant garde of not just a new business but a new culinary art on the street that many will delight from in the near future.