• Cyril McAree

Award Winning Thai Food Chain Kanum Celebrates Eighth Birthday!

Kanum Thai, a family owned and operated Irish business, is having their eighth birthday at the end of July. Kanum was established by (then) 27-year-old Marc Fitzharris with his brother Niall, his father and his uncle Michael Loftus in 2009. Now 35-year-old Marc is one of the three directors of the company with his mother Breda and his brother Niall.

Kanum won the Best Takeaway award in 98FM’s Best of Dublin Awards 2016 and was a finalist for the same awards in 2017. It was also a finalist in the SFA National Small Business Awards in 2013.

The award-winning Thai eat-in, takeaway and delivery chain employs 63 people, has three branches (Ballsbridge and Rathgar, as well as their headquarters/prep kitchen which opened in Parkwest last year) and 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.

During his time as a student, Marc built up six years’ experience behind the counter and as a delivery driver for takeaways. After travelling for a few years, Marc returned to Ireland in 2006 with the intention of setting up a food business – his initial plan was to set up a pizza outlet, but he saw the bad media pizza and ‘unhealthy’ fast food was getting, and saw the trend on the market for healthier food and the demand for low fat, fast food. Marc always loved Thai food and made the decision to establish a food business that didn’t use MSGs and provided restaurant quality food at takeaway prices.“When I moved back to Ireland from travelling, I saw a huge gap in the market for good quality, healthy fast food.” Marc said. “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.”

To celebrate their 8th birthday, Kanum is doing meals for €8 for the month of July.

“Food in Thailand is really the anchor of any social occasion, event or celebration.” Marc said. “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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