NEW YORK, Aug. 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- With the ever-increasing popularity of Thai cuisine, it's reasonable to understand that some dishes may become more Americanized than others to please American palates. Thai Trade Center New York (TTC) wants to bring more awareness to restaurants that serve authentic Thai cuisine in order for people to appreciate the real flavors in the food, taste the exotic ingredients that complement each dish, and overall, TTC wants people to eat the same dishes as they would eat it in Thailand.
The Thai Select certificate is designed to be the official acknowledgment that identifies a restaurant as properly using the correct ingredients in their dishes with no substitutes, preparing the food in the traditional Thai style of cooking and overall taste. TTC and the Royal Thai Government decide on the standards and judge the restaurant's food.
How Important Is Authenticity?
When it comes to choosing a restaurant, research conducted by the Stanford Graduate School of Business professor Glenn Carroll, indicated that consumers have a well-documented and growing attraction to products and services they see as "authentic." Research shows they place a higher value on such businesses; however, few have the experience to differentiate between authentic and fusion.
The "foodie" movement towards authentic, organic, and farm-to-table concepts have generated consumer education and desire for ethnically authentic cuisines. There is a higher emphasis on health and wellness that also lead consumers to seek higher quality offerings.
TTC plans to help restaurants that serve authentic Thai cuisine stand out from the competition by collaborating with restaurants to ensure equal promotion in TTC's campaigns. Restaurants that are part of the program will enjoy the benefits of:
- Support for participation in the Thai Select Activities in Thailand International Trade Fairs, such as Thaifex.
- Invitation to attend annual international trade fairs in Thailand.
- Support for public relations and advertisements in general in both international and domestic media
- Opportunity of participating in development and promotional activities organized by the Department of International Trade Promotion
New Marketing Initiatives
As a result, TTC strengthened the awareness for its Thai Select program by launching the following initiatives:
- Market Research – TTC conducted extensive primary qualitative and quantitative research of existing and potential Thai Select applicants and restaurant goers to assess perception of the authentic Thai cuisine and to improve the certificate program and its awareness. The team uncovered challenges that restaurant owners face, and they plan to continue working together to improve the process.
- Digital Advertising - A digital marketing advertising campaign to generate awareness for existing Thai Select certified restaurants and to attract more restaurants to apply to the program.
- Collaborative Social Media – TTC recently launched U.S.A. based social media channels for Thai Select in order to cross-promote U.S. based Thai Select restaurants and highlight the restaurants' various special dishes and staff.
- Influencer Campaign – TTC will be working with various food influencers from social media to create unique content that is designed to promote the cuisine and ambiance of various restaurants that are part of Thai Select.
- Thai Restaurant Passport - This will also be launched toward the end of Summer, featuring mostly NYC area Thai Select restaurants in an effort to encourage New Yorkers to dine at the restaurants and collect stamps to mark which restaurants they've visited. If they dine at three or more restaurants, diners can send a photo of the stamped passport to their social media with the hashtag #ThaiSelectUSA for the opportunity to win a culinary trip to Thailand.
- CRM & Email Program – TTC will utilize CRM and e-marketing tools to craft specific messages for B2B and B2C communication in an effort to inspire more interest in the program and to further promote restaurants in the program
The Thai Select Process
Thai Select or Thai Select Premium certification identifies Thai restaurants that offer at least 60% authentic Thai foods on their menu. They also imply that these restaurants employ the same or similar cooking methods as in Thailand, and may import ingredients from Thailand. The certifications, however, neither rate foods nor endorse any quality standard of the restaurant. The certification is divided into two categories based on the levels of design and service excellence: Thai Select Premium indicates a degree of excellence of 5-star or higher. This is given to restaurants with a score of 85 or above. With the premium status, the restaurants suggest traditional Thai decorations and outstanding services.
Thai Select indicates a degree of excellence of 3 to 4-stars. This is presented to restaurants with a score between 75 and 84. These restaurants serve fine authentic Thai foods. Overall, these restaurants offer diners a fine dining experience.
For eligibility, restaurants must meet the following criteria:
- The restaurant must have been in operation at least six months prior to the date of application
- At least 60 percent of dishes offered on the menu must be authentic Thai cuisine and the cooking methods must be the same or very similar to those in Thailand
- Head chefs may be either Thai or other nationalities, and in case of non-Thai head chefs, the chefs must produce proof of at least a 2-year experience in cooking Thai food or possess a Thai cuisine training certificate from an accredited institution
To apply for Thai Select and to obtain more information, restaurant owners or managers can visit http://thaiselectusa.info.
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SOURCE Thai Trade Center New York