Four months into starting casual Thai restaurant Porn's Sexy Thai Food in 2010, television host Pornsak Prajakwit was already fielding offers to take over the restaurant.
Now, the 34-year-old has entered into a joint partnership with food and beverage company, the Jus Delish Group, which owns Thai restaurants such as Som Tam and Talay Kata mookata restaurant, both in Orchard Central, and Gin Khao in One Raffles Place and Sentosa Cove.
The group now has a 60 per cent stake in Porn's, which has four outlets, including at Alexandra Retail Centre and Kitchener Complex, and has been managing the chain's day-to-day operations since October last year.
The joint partnership was finalised last month. Mr Ralph Liow, managing director of the Jus Delish Group, said the company paid a seven- figure sum for the partnership.
Pornsak will be an ambassador for the chain.
He says that the time is right to take a backseat in his restaurant business. "I would like to spend more time with my 94-year-old father, who lives in Bangkok. I used to fly back once a month," he says. "I also hope to spend more time on my education business."
Pornsak, who co-owns a tuition centre, Study Room, in Toa Payoh North, says it took him four years to find "the right match for my baby".
"Jus Delish Group has strong financial backing, was sincere in its negotiations and specialises in F&B," he adds.
Mr Liow says that incorporating Porn's into the Jus Delish Group is "a chance that doesn't come twice".
The group is the food and beverage subsidiary of Micro 2000 Group, an information technology company. It also owns Kwan Inn Vegetarian Restaurant in Tanjong Katong Road, which it took over in July last year.
He adds: "Porn's has a bigger potential to expand than other local Thai restaurants here. It is a soughtafter brand that is endorsed by a Thai celebrity, who has a strong following among diners here."
The group also plans to open 10 Porn's outlets here within the next five years. An outlet is slated to open in the second quarter of this year at a location yet to be confirmed. He adds that the group "doesn't plan to rock the boat", so there will be no changes to the menu and prices.
Mr Liow says the first overseas outlet should open in Kuala Lumpur by the third quarter of this year.