Situated at the front of the Jomtien Complex, Tinnies is a highly unusual Pattaya Survivor: the business is not only surviving during the Covid pandemic but is thriving like never before. Founded by Australian Michael Handley in 2016, Tinnies was a hit from day one, but has expanded and diversified a great deal since then.
Michael, born in Melbourne, trained as a pastry chef whilst still a teen. But he spent most of his adult life running general concessions at Australian airports and then starting a heating and aircon business in Tasmania which he sold in 2009. He then turned to food in earnest and opened the Australian version of Tinnies before moving to Thailand seven years later.
A shrewd businessman, Michael recognized that location is the first consideration. “Our position in Jomtien is on a corner and near the beach,” he says. “Moreover, the bulk of our trade is take-out and a location where customers and come and go without traffic hassle is essential.”
Quality is another key to success. The many varieties of freshly-baked pies, both meat and dessert, are a case of once tried and never forgotten. The cafe business has expanded too and now offers a full range of meals, both farang and Thai. A special feature is the sandwiches which customers build for themselves with a wide choice of meat, cheese, vegetables and sauces.
Michael also attributes success to his Thai wife Aung and her sister May who both worked with him in Australia. “Between them, they take care of marketing, much of the administration, customer care and ensuring we have good team work amongst the staff,” he emphasizes. The Facebook page, to give one example, has over 5,000 likes.
There are some amazing facts about Tinnies. It could be the only business in Pattaya which started to open for seven days a week, instead of six, during the pandemic. “It was a great idea, but we are going back to six now to ensure the hardworking staff get a day off. Another feature is that Michael sells only retail and never wholesale in spite of many enquiries. “We are busy enough and if you grow too big you can lose control of the quality,” he says.
Tinnies also delivers nationwide, even to remote areas, using the services of a door-to-door refrigerated company. “Our market now is truly international and Thais are rapidly discovering they love the taste of our gourmet pies, sausage rolls and other products.” Tinnies indeed has a unique place in the variety-rich restaurant and take-out opportunities which abound in the eastern seaboard. It’s a venue where all customers will be coming back soon.