Pattaya Personality - Simon Peatfield Retox
By Kevin Cain
Pattaya Personality this month focuses on one of the most well known names in the Pattaya hospitality business. Simon Peatfield is the man behind the popular Retox sports bar empire as well as other favourite Pattaya leisure institutions.
Meeting up with Simon at Retox on Soi Lengkee, the first thing that was noticeable was all the building work being undertaken outside. Simon was waiting in the new extension to the bar that has almost doubled the size of this Retox. The genial host explained what was actually going on at Retox Soi Lengkee, the new extension has also an upstairs al fresco seating area, and the work outside when complete, will offer an outdoor terrace with a BBQ.
For those who are not familiar with the Retox brand there are three branches, Retox Soi Lengkee, Retox Game On Soi Honey and Retox Darkside on Soi Siam Country Club. Retox Group Asia also own other brands in the area, notably, the Robin Hood at The Avenue, and the Queens Arms in Soi Buakhao. This highly successful group employees around one hundred and fifty staff, which makes it one of the biggest employers in the Pattaya hospitality industry. The thriving Retox brand and the rest of the empire started 8 years ago when Simon purchased Irish Rovers now I-Rovers.
Simon admitted that he was actually a civil engineer by trade but found running a sports bar brand just like any other business. “It takes plenty of common sense and good business acumen”. Simon was keen to impart that he is constantly looking and responding to feedback from patrons and is not afraid to change things if they are wrong.
There are big plans to expand the Retox brand even further, with locations in Phnom Penh and Bangkok on the cards. Certainly tea totaller Simon is not afraid of hard work . He is also involved in Balti Towers Indian restaurant and is close to opening an English-style Chinese restaurant. Not happy with the third party home delivery service options in Pattaya, Retox now have their own delivery service called Retox to You. They offer both the menu in the sports bar as well as Indian and Chinese food. Simon explained that trying to rely on other people’s delivery services was not ideal, it was both expensive and he could not guarantee the food would arrive in the condition it left the kitchens.
So why is the Retox model so successful when other businesses in Pattaya seem to be floundering? Simon is adamant that it was not just a single factor, and that many things have been tried and failed. The secret has been to try new ideas and if they don’t work try something else that will succeed. Success in the hospitality industry depends on many factors: location, marketing, correct management and good service at reasonable rates. But looking around Retox Soi Lengkee it is also obvious that a certain level of investment is also required. Certainly Simon is investing heavily in this particular sports bar, both in monetary terms and time. Simon and his team know what they are doing and the latest venture is to offer genuine Indian food made by the chefs at Balti Towers on a Wednesday. The Retox regulars have made it a sure fire hit, and the portions are always completely sold out.
The originator of Pattaya’s first 99 Baht-Buster breakfast was Retox, and they have been selling many breakfasts ever since. So far the record at Soi Lengkee is 370 breakfasts in one day, and with the new extension Simon fully expects to be smashing the 500 mark. Also in response to his plans for Christmas Day lunch, Simon informed us that they have already have close to a ton of Turkeys on order from Australia, already the Robin Hood outlet has 140 bookings, and will most likely be fully sold out on the day.
Simon is a keen sports fan and an avid Leeds United supporter, just looking around the bar you can see multiple flat screen TVs showing just about every live sport imaginable. There is also a pool table, dartboard and a boxing punch machine for any patrons who want to test their punching power. Simon is himself a keen boxing fan competing in a highly popular White Collar boxing event in Pattaya three years ago. This encouraged him to take up the sport and to date he has had six fights, winning five and losing just one.
Looking at the punch bag arcade machine across the room, he winced when he disclosed that his previous long standing high score had just been beaten by an unknown punter. There is a free beer on offer to anybody that can beat the high score, so budding boxers should get down to Retox to try their luck - my claim on the prize was quickly dismissed with a glance that said it all !
Hot news off the press we can confirm that Simon is organising another White Collar boxing event on the 20th of January 2018. As yet the venue is to be confirmed as Simon is currently negotiating for somewhere that will be suitable for hosting such a prestigious charity event.
However the exciting news is that the great Frank Bruno is coming to Thailand specifically to attend the occasion, and there will be Q&A evenings held on the two nights prior to the boxing at the Robin Hood bar in the Avenue mall. Guests will be allowed to ask questions directly to Frank about his great career.
Corporate entertainment packages are available for all three evenings, not only offering the opportunity to support a great cause but also to personally meet one of English boxing’s great legends.Anybody interested in finding out more about the packages available should contact Simon directly or through the Retox website and Facebook pages. So far there has been great interest in all three evenings, so our advice is to act quickly should you wish to go, as it is bound to be a sell out occasion.
Simon is not only a highly successful businessman, he is also an energetic sportsman who has a very pragmatic view of life. His continual try, try and try again attitude is certainly bringing him success and also benefiting all his clientele. It is refreshing that a Pattaya business owner is positive about the city, and Retox is a testament to all the doubters that if you run a business properly then Pattaya is still a great place for a successful concern.