Kualao Restaurant, one of the most famous restaurants in Laos, looks to the domestic market by rebranding itself as a venue of choice for meetings, conferences, and other events.
As Laos battles its third outbreak of Covid-19, the restaurant, like many others in the hospitality industry, has suffered during lockdowns and border closures.
To adjust, Kualao has pivoted to the domestic market by embracing initiatives like the Lao Thiao Lao domestic tourism campaign and offering services to businesses and organizations.
“The Lao Thiao Lao campaign has been helpful and has allowed us to maintain most of our staff. We remain optimistic and await the country’s reopening but in the meantime, we are looking to another market: Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE),” says restaurant manager Dalaphone Pholsena.
To help return the restaurant to its glory days, the restaurant management has focused its attention on organizations, from government bodies to NGOs, that organize events like meetings, workshops, conferences, training sessions, and seminars.
Kualao Restaurant features two renovated function halls, with the smaller able to host up to 80 people, while the larger hall can comfortably seat 200 people.
The two function halls are equipped with air conditioning, hi-speed wifi, audio-visual systems (wireless microphones and projectors/screens). Basic teleconferencing over Zoom with Facebook and YouTube integration is also available upon request.
Coffee breaks and lunches can be customized and suited to meet the needs of the event and clients.
“As much as possible, we make an extra effort to adhere to physical distancing guidelines. We look forward to the day when Lao food can be a communal and shared experience once again,” says Pholsena.
At the restaurant, all staff are fully vaccinated and wear masks during business hours, dining hall chairs and tables observe physical distancing, temperature screenings are conducted upon restaurant entry, and hand gel is made readily available. Kualao is currently in the process of applying for the MICT and MoH-approved LaoSafe certification.
Established in 1994, Kualao gained popularity for its authentic take on Lao cuisine, capturing the high-end market among both locals and expatriates. Through the years, the Vientiane-based restaurant has caught the attention of famous international celebrities like Weir Sukollawat, Note Oudom, Nune Woranuch, Ploy Cherman, and Janie Tienphosuwan.
Notable foreign dignitaries have included four Japanese Prime Ministers Shinzo Abe, Yoshihiko Noda, Keizo Obuchi, Junichiro Koizumi, former Czech President Václav Klaus, Singaporean President S.R. Nathan, New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, and many more.