JOHANNESBURG - Real Foods Group, which houses the popular healthy restaurant franchise Kauai, has entered into a joint venture (JV) for Thailand and a master franchise for Asia with Dusit Thani, a company listed on the Thailand Stock Exchange, and also a master franchise with Vineyard Catering in the Netherlands.

The Thai JV will be called Dusit Real Foods, and will oversee the opening of several fast-casual restaurants in Thailand, with possible expansion into retail ranges. Dusit Real Foods already has four stores lined up through its long-standing relationship with Virgin Active health clubs, with the first store to open at the end of September. The first Dutch Kauai store will open in Utrecht in August.

Dusit International is a publicly-listed Thai multinational hospitality company with diverse interests in the hospitality, food and beverage space, including 29 hotels and resorts in 18 countries, an investment in NR Instant Produce C, a leading manufacturer and exporter of instant food and beverages for more than 50 brands, as well as a majority equity stake in Epicure Catering, the leading provider of catering services to international schools in Thailand. The new stores will carry the brand name Real Foods, while still retaining the Kauai concept, store design and menu.

Much of the menu will remain the same, with roughly 30percent changing to meet local tastes, adding several Thai-inspired dishes like soba noodle salads, iced tea and coffee drinks. The first Dusit Real Foods store will be opening inside the Virgin Active health club in Whizdom 101, a landmark new mixed-use development in Bangkok.

The first Kauai store in the Netherlands will be located in Utrecht Centraal railway station. It is the largest and busiest railway station in the country, with more than 1000 departures and almost 200000 passengers per day.

“Vineyard Catering approached Real Foods with the belief that the Kauai brand would resonate with and attract the Dutch consumer. We view this opportunity as a platform for further expansion into Europe, with partner Vineyard Catering, which has a strong track record in food and catering,” Real Foods Group chief executive Dean Kowarski said.  

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