The Thai Restaurant Association (TRA) plans to work with food processing companies and educational institutes to produce skilled labour and serve the growing Thai food industry.
Taniwan: Growth drive continues
President Taniwan Koonmongkol said the TRA is working on short training curricula specifically for the Thai food industry in collaboration with major food processors and public and private universities.
The association has already formed a small working group and is conducting Thai food seminars about the labour shortage in the industry.
Speaking at last week’s Food and Hotel Thailand 2018 forum, Mrs Taniwan said the Thai food market will continue to grow because of high consumption among Thais and more than 30 million foreign tourists.
Many Thai food operators, however, are either small shops or big restaurants facing shortages of skilled workers because many of them hire foreign workers who may not prefer to eat Thai food.
Based on the figures of the association, there are more than 10 million workers in the food industry, 30% of whom are foreigners.
“Foreign workers are allowed to work in the food and drinks segment, but their certifications do not allow them to serve customers as cashiers, waiters or waitresses,” Mrs Taniwan said.
She said the project is also aimed at encouraging Thais with comprehensive skills to work in the food business.
In addition, the TRA wants to enhance overall food standards.
The TRA and its alliances plan to launch the first training project this year, with an eye towards skilled workers beginning work early next year.
The association will initially focus on Bangkok before extending the training programme to other major tourist cities.
Kitti Pornsiwakit, president of the Association of Thai Tourism Marketing (ATTM), said food operators in the digital era are facing a tough market because of generational changes, technological shifts and evolving consumer behaviour.
To deal with these obstacles, the ATTM is urging food operators to adopt business strategies that put consumers’ needs first.
One key marketing tool is going online, as many customers prefer fast service. At the same time, operators should focus on attractive and catchy materials to lure customers through multiple online channels.
Justin Pau, general manager of UBM Asia Thailand, the organiser of Food and Hotel Thailand, said the tourism industry is strong, as seen by the increasing number of local and foreign tourists.
While the food and hospitality industry is expanding to meet growing demand, businesses also need to develop and expand to take advantage of opportunities, he said.
In the first half of this year, 19.44 million foreign tourists visited Thailand, a 12% increase compared with the same period last year.
Chinese tourists remained the largest group with a 26% growth rate, reaching 5.9 million in the first half.