By Oscar Michel, Masters in Journalism, DCU

Kanum Thai an Award winning Thai Food Chain is celebrating its 8th Birthday by the end of July by doing 8€ meals.

This chain is a family owned and operated business. It was founded by Marc Fitzharris, his brother Niall, his father and his uncle Michael Loftus. The company now has three directors; Marc, Niall and their mother Breda.

Every year Kanum figures in the Best Takeaway award in 98FM’s Best of Dublin. Kanum won in 2016 and was finalist in 2017. It also went up to the finals in the SFA National Small Business Awards in 2013.

63 people are employed in three different branches (Ballsbridge, Rathgar and the headquarters in Parkwest) and in three outside catering units which serve at seven lunch-time markets per week around Dublin, as well as all the big festivals across Ireland including Electric Picnic, Body and Soul, and Forbidden Fruit.

“When I moved back to Ireland from travelling, I saw a huge gap in the market for good quality, healthy fast food” said Marc Fitzharris. “I’ve always been business-focused and have had a passion for great quality food so starting a food business was something I wanted to do for years. I’ve been really proud seeing the business grow from strength to strength since 2009. It was a big step to open our first branch in Ballsbridge and then launch our first outdoor catering unit within the first year before opening our second branch in Rathgar shortly afterwards – it was a bit of a whirlwind business journey. We’ve now moved into lunchtime catering for large companies which is a total different kettle of fish. The biggest challenge in the FMCG sector, I think, is producing fresh, healthy fast food in bulk very rapidly. The way we’ve managed to make this work well for the business is with good preparation and a strong team. Our head chef creates all of the recipes in our menus and the fresh sauces are made daily in-store following the same recipe, which means our great-quality food is always at the same high standard, regardless of the branch, venue or outlet.”

Marc knew that he had to create a food business that didn’t use MSGs and that a quality food restaurant with takeaway prices was the solution.

“Food in Thailand is really the anchor of any social occasion, event or celebration. Some Thais even believe that eating alone is back luck – that’s how much of an importance eating with family and friends is in Thailand. It’s a wonderful thing, to have been able to bring a part of this sociable, family and friend-centred culture back from my travels to Ireland and start a successful business I’m so proud of, with my family.”

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