January 22, 2019 / 1:58 PM / 7 months ago

Taco Bell's first Thailand outlet to serve spicy fare and local beer

A server presents food during the opening ceremony of a Taco Bell restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand January 22, 2019. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

BANGKOK (Reuters) - U.S. fast food giant Taco Bell is opening its first outlet in Thailand, continuing the Yum! Brands (YUM.N) chain’s Asia expansion, offering adapted menu items and local beer.

The fast-food chain’s new Bangkok outlet opens on Thursday and will introduce new items with local flavors including an extra-spicy sauce to compete with the multiple quick-service chains and higher-end Mexican restaurants in the city center.

It will also serve Thai beer brands Singha and Chang as well as Philippines beer San Miguel Light.

Its Thai franchise partner, Thoresen Thai Agencies Pcl (TTA) (TTA.BK), owned by the billionaire Mahagitsiri family, a shipping company that branched out last year into the food and beverage business with quick-service restaurant, Pizza Hut, also owned by Yum.

“Taco Bell will appeal to the young generation, particularly millennials,” Chalermchai Mahagitsiri, CEO of Taco Bell’s Thai franchise partner Thoresen Thai Agencies (TTA) (TTA.BK), said in a statement, adding that his family “fell in love” with the chain while visiting the United States.

TTA, owned by the billionaire Mahagitsiri family, is a shipping company that branched out last year into the food and beverage sector.

Taco Bell’s Asia Pacific’s managing director, Ankush Tuli, said Thailand’s “strong food culture, adventurous spirit and appetite for trying new things” make it a good market for the brand.

The latest store was unveiled by Taco Bell President Liz Williams on Tuesday. The chain, known for serving burritos and tacos opened its first store in China in 2016 and last year signed a deal to expand in New Zealand and Australia.

Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Kay Johnson and David Goodman

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