International chain restaurants and shops
Courtesy of the brands

16 international chain restaurants and shops that should branch out to Bangkok

Shake Shack will soon open in the Thai capital. Here’s hoping these other brands land on Bangkok’s shores soon.

Arpiwach Supateerawanitt
Written by
Arpiwach Supateerawanitt
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We can all appreciate fast food every now and then, especially if we want food that’s simple yet filling, reasonably priced and offered with grab-and-go convenience.

Thankfully, the Thai capital is not lacking in global chain restaurants and shops. We basically have everything from American giants like McDonald’s and Sizzler to Asian favorites like CoCo ICHIBANYA and HaiDiLao Hotpot. Plus, New York-born burger purveyor Shake Shack will soon make its grand Bangkok debut next year. But we can’t help but wish that more fast food brands will come to the city soon.

To celebrate the imminent arrival of Shake Shack and International Junk Food Day on July 21, we’ve rounded up a list of fast food chains that we think can make it big in Bangkok.

Chipotle
Chipotle

Chipotle

The hype for Mexican-inspired fast food has increased thanks to Taco Bell making its debut in the city a few years ago. So it’s time for another global brand like Chipotle to serve its famed tacos and burritos to Bangkok’s nine-to-fivers. After three decades of branching out across the US and Europe, maybe the brand should start looking at conquering the Asian food scene.

Five Guys
Five Guys

Five Guys

Famed for its juicy hand-shaped patties and fancy milkshakes, Five Guys has been a fan-favorite burger joint since 1986. More than four decades later, the chain has expanded to over 1,600 branches in 19 countries including France, Australia, Singapore and Hongkong. Sadly, not in Thailand—yet. We’re sure that Bangkokians would flock to this shop and guzzle down its free peanuts while waiting for its scrumptious burgers to be served.

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Greggs
Greggs

Greggs

Greggs never fails to please the Bri’ish with its signature sausage rolls, which also come in a meatless option! The chain, which started in Newcastle, has been the UK’s sweetheart for pastries since 1939, but the brand surprisingly never expanded outside the queendom. Will there be a day Bangkokians get to munch on that delish sausage roll?

GROM
GROM

GROM

Bangkok’s globetrotters will completely lose it if GROM landed in Bangkok. This Italian gelato shop has become a must-stop in several global metropolises for its luscious flavors, which include chocolatey options and fruity sorbets. The brand will turn 20 years old in 2023. Wouldn’t it be cool if it decides to open its first branch in Bangkok as part of its celebrations?

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Holiland
Holiland

Holiland

The bakery scene in Bangkok is preoccupied with Japanese- and western-inspired ventures. Holiland, on the other hand, could be a breath of fresh air with its focus on Chinese-style pastries. The name may not be familiar to those who have never been to China, but it’s actually the biggest bakery chain in the Mainland, with over 1,000 shops. Plus, the fact that the Chinese know how to put out pocket-friendly stuff can make Holiland a big deal in Thailand.

Joe & the Juice
Joe & the Juice

Joe & the Juice

If you happen to pop into Siam Paragon, especially during the hot summer months, you’ll see a thirsty mob waiting to slurp a fruit smoothie from Boost. This is why we think Joe & the Juice would make it big here. The Copenhagen juice brand has been welcomed in 16 countries so far, including Singapore and Hong Kong. Fingers crossed Thailand is next on its list. 

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Jollibee
Jollibee

Jollibee

It’s crazy how our Southeast Asian neighbor never thought about bringing its adorable red and yellow bee mascot to our shores when it has a presence in Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam and Europe. Filipino chain Jollibee is like the country’s version of KFC or McDonald’s, but with more Asian-inspired offerings, like its breaded Chicken Joy with noodles and gravy on the side. Plus, we can’t help but wonder if its Yumburger, which comes with a special dressing, is really yummy!

JUICY Fresh Juice Bar
JUICY Fresh Juice Bar

JUICY Fresh Juice Bar

We just can’t get enough of fun and refreshing juices, which is why South Korea’s JUICY Fresh Juice Bar is on this list. Since 2010, this juice bar has been quenching the thirst of health aficionados (or anyone, really) through its over 800 outlets in South Korea and multiple outposts in Malaysia with their many fun-forward juice creations.

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LELECHA Tea Factory
LELECHA Tea Factory

LELECHA Tea Factory

Our obsession with bubble tea will never die and China’s LELECHA could be the next brand to fuel the boba mania here. Despite its newbie status (it only opened in 2018), the brand has already over 100 branches in eight major cities in the republic, luring the sweet-toothed with its “dirty tea” and “dirty bread”, as well as many fruit drinks and soft buns.

Max Brenner
Max Brenner

Max Brenner

Those with a soft spot for chocolate would be excited to see this brand in the city. Max Brenner is no stranger to chocolate enthusiasts since it opened its first branch in Israel in 1986. While it serves chocolatey drinks and basic desserts like waffles and ice cream, Max Brenner is also known for more exciting creations like chocolate pizza.

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Nando’s
Nando's

Nando’s

Nando's may have started in South Africa but, weirdly, blew up in the UK that even international visitors usually put it in their list of must-eats when traveling to the “visit the queen”, thanks to its signature flame-grilled peri-peri style chicken served with many hot sauces. We don’t understand how Malaysia already has over 70 Nando’s while there’s none in Thailand!

Olive Garden
Olive Garden

Olive Garden

Having served Italian-American cuisine since 1982, Olive Garden is popular for carb-filled goodies like fried mozzarella cheese, breadsticks and classic lasagna. This Orlando-born casual-dining chain has more than 900 locations operating worldwide, with two branches opening later this year in the Philippines. Truth be told, we certainly don’t mind a branch right here in Bangkok.

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Pret a Manger
Pret a Manger

Pret a Manger

How to act like a real Londoner? Go get a sandwich from Pret! Founded in the English capital circa 1983, Pret a Manger has been a go-to for UK residents who are in need of quick grub like sandwiches, salad boxes and fresh coffee. They’re set to invade India in 2022, and several branches are operating in Hong Kong, China and Singapore. Maybe Thailand next?

Wasabi
Wasabi

Wasabi

Bangkok still has very few choices when it comes to Japanese grab-and-go meals, which is why we think Wasabi would make it big here. The brand is the 7-11 equivalent of East Asian-influenced fast food, with over 40 branches in the UK and New York. We think Bangkokian will like its golden hours near closing time, when the price of what’s on the shelves gets cut down.

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Whit’s Frozen Custard 
Whit’s Frozen Custard

Whit’s Frozen Custard 

Bangkok’s ice cream and gelato shops would have major competition once Whit’s and its famous frozen custard lands in Bangkok. The brand is a household name in the US because of its signature product. It’d be pretty interesting to see if Bangkokians would give it love like they do to other frozen goods brands.

White Castle
White Castle

White Castle

Right before McDonald’s became a thing around the world, there was White Castle—the true OG of the fast food realm. It first opened back in 1921 in Kansas, and has since influenced many burger entrepreneurs to follow suit (hence the title of the most influential burger of all time from Time). With its legendary status secured, the brand can potentially pull it off in Bangkok, yes?

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